“We are a species of makers. “ -- Aaron Horowitz
I first learned of Sproutel’s Aaron Horowitz, Hannah Chung, and Jerry The Bear last spring, at TEDx Providence. Aaron’s talk at TEDx was called “Just Start Building”. He spoke about the inception of Jerry The Bear, which is an interactive learning game for children living with type 1 diabetes. He “jumped in with both feet” – knowing nothing about what it would take to build such a game. He just started building. Ten weeks later, they had a prototype.
Sproutel was started from a shared passion between Aaron and co-founder Hannah Chung to positively impact the lives of children diagnosed with a chronic illness. Their mission, “to change the lives of children diagnosed with a chronic illness through play!” At his TEDx Talk, Horowitz shared why he was drawn to the project – he was diagnosed with Human Growth Hormone Deficiency as a child, and had to receive daily injections. Chung experienced diabetes through her family; several family members lived with the disease, and her grandfather passed away from hypoglycemia.
In the three years since Aaron and Hannah began developing Jerry The Bear, they have incorporated Sproutel, and received attention from publications like USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Mashable, Inc., NPR, Good, and The Huffington Post.
Aaron and Hannah are currently involved with Children with Diabetes - the largest online network for individuals affected by type 1 diabetes. Children with Diabetes holds conferences across the country every year, which have served as a great venue to test Jerry with kids.
Recently, Sproutel participated in the Brown University medical school teddy bear clinic. This served as a great setting to test out some of their games and the programming, which are currently being created.
“For us, the entrepreneurial community in Providence has been incredibly helpful and valuable.”
Sproutel’s co-working space is hosted by Betaspring a “mentorship-driven startup accelerator program for technology and design entrepreneurs who are ready to build a product, launch a company, and change the world”, which houses around 40 companies. Says Horowitz, “The type of support that this provides is immensely valuable.”
Aaron and Hannah are now gearing up for their beta launch this June. Sproutel’s first run of factory-produced bears will soon reach the hands of children living with type 1 diabetes.
Sproutel’s long-term plans include goals centered around creating similar learning games for children living with diseases such as cancer and asthma.