Founders Hannah Chung and Aaron Horowitz are no strangers when it comes to stealing the show at a demo day--the two are seasoned pros at telling a killer story about their company, Sproutel. But the dynamic duo went next level earlier this month when they wowed President Barack Obama with their story.
On August 4, The White House hosted its first startup Demo Day, where top entrepreneurs from across the country vied for the chance to present their startup to Commander-in-Chief. I won’t waste time trying to describe the encounter--watch it yourself because it’s a super fun clip.
Sproutel, and their flagship product Jerry the Bear, was one of 32 companies selected to wow POTUS with their achievements. Jerry the Bear first came to market last year as a tool for children with Type I diabetes to understand and cope with the realities of their disease. Jerry, a snuggly plush bear, serves as a proxy for kids--they feed him, monitor his blood sugar and administer insulin as Jerry competes in a series of Olympic-type games.
This unique combination of fuzzy warmth and high-tech engineering works because it offers engagement, education, and support. So successful was Jerry in delighting children, the team recently set out to expand Jerry’s capabilities to reach kids who did not have diabetes.
The newest incarnation of Jerry retains all his cuddly goodness, but connects him to a tablet where parents can select from a portfolio of health and wellness stories, including diabetes, food allergies, and asthma. Jerry is more than a toy--he is a trusted health coach who connects with children in ways adults simply cannot.
The vision? Become the Sesame Street for healthcare. The four-person team, affectionately referred to as “Sproutelians,” were recently awarded a federal SBIR grant to continue their development of new products.
The White House wasn’t the only group to take note of Sproutel’s success -- since Demo Day, they’ve been mentioned in the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and many more. In addition, CEO Aaron Horowitz was selected to present at TED@IBM in October and was profiled by IBM (read it here). Their recent publicity culminated with a feature on CNBC’s “PowerPitch”, in which three industry experts reviewed their pitch and business model.
Keep it up, superstars.
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