Meet the Sproutelians

We are digital storytellers, engineers, artists, tinkerers, troublemakers, and doers. As different as we come, we share one thing in common: our personal commitment to creating a healthier world, driven by our experiences with illness.

Sproutel is uniquely positioned at the intersection of tech, design, and social good. As we continue to grow, we have immediate goals to continue building a US-based team and global collaborator network that truly reflects the diversity we need to see in design and technology. We hope you'll join us in that mission.

Aaron Horowitz

Co-founder & CEO

Aaron’s superpower is that his passion is infectious - he gets people excited about doing well by doing good. Growing up with human growth hormone deficiency inspired his mission to create technology that puts patients at the center of their own healthcare.

Aaron is a maker at heart; on a daily basis, you can catch him switching easily from building new business partnerships to carving foam prototypes. Joyful and effusive, you’ll find him dancing throughout the day on the office security cameras. Perhaps more than anything, Aaron loves being in the ocean - surfing, diving, and splashing around.

Joel Schwartz


Joel won’t tell you this, so we will - there’s no challenge he can’t tackle. Here at Sproutel, Joel leads engineering and development, from prototype to mass production. Day to day, he draws from a background in mechanical engineering and clinical research, an endless curiosity, and his drive to improve quality of life for people in their most vulnerable moments.

If we have to choose one, Joel’s superpower is his ability and tenacity to wrangle the unknown, the complex, and the abstract into structure and process. You can find him fly fishing or watching movies with a 20% or less rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Elizabeth Roche

Head of Research & Strategy

Fearless and down to earth, Elizabeth is a relentless advocate for the end user, bringing the human voice into every step of the creative process. In her career of over 25 years, she directed research teams at frog and Ximedica and conducted research across healthcare, medical, and consumer product spaces in a wide range of countries from central Europe to Egypt to India.

At Sproutel, Elizabeth spearheads research initiatives that inform impactful design solutions. Beyond creating products that change lives, her other passions include hiking in the Alps, immersing herself in new cultures, and eating crazy spicy food.

Dan Polanek

Head of Operations

A veteran of the toy and game industry, Dan is behind many of the fan-favorite toys that our families grew up with, spearheading products like GigaPets and introducing new categories to Hasbro, like Plug & Play TV Games.

Bringing his skills to Sproutel has led to the most fulfilling work of his life. Here, Dan runs human resources, manufacturing, and logistics, helping to build the global network of collaborators who bring our products to life. A gearhead since high school, he most recently took a 1955 Chevy from an engine-less rolling shell to a running, driving show car, in tribute to his late father.

Brian Oley

Software Lead

Brian is the man behind the apps that our users know and love. At Sproutel, Brian develops effective and engaging tools, combining his experience developing clinical trial software with his time spent at an indie game development studio.

Growing up, a close friend was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and Brian saw firsthand how difficult that could be. Joining Sproutel to help create Jerry the Bear and assist other families going through similar times was the perfect opportunity to give back. In his free time, Brian enjoys AcroYoga, bikepacking, and, as one very casually does, mountain unicycling.

Sandra Hwang

Senior Strategist

Sunny and brimming with gratitude, Sandra is all about people. Sandra is a public health researcher turned design strategist, specializing in qualitative research for patient experience. Her superpower at Sproutel is connecting quickly and deeply with patients and their loved ones, creating space for shared vulnerability, and getting to the true root of their needs.

Since losing her own brother to pediatric cancer, Sandra carries forward a legacy of dancing through darkness and helping others do the same. You can find her traveling the world, indulging in R&B, writing about the immigrant story, and doling out epic pep talks.

Nick Mead

Senior Designer

Industrial design extraordinaire, Nick led the design of our latest product launch, Purrble. Here at Sproutel, he does everything from prototyping to design for manufacturing. It’s in healthcare that his love for making and creating meets the need to create a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

Previously, Nick led the design of Joy for All, an award-winning line of robotic companion pets for seniors at Hasbro. Always thoughtful and ever-reliable, we’ll leave you with one warning about Nick - watch out for his dangerous Photoshop skills. Outside work, you will find him figuring out how to hold his first home together.

Marina Aldarondo


With a stellar eye and swift hands, Marina does everything from early stage product concepts to brand visualization at Sproutel. As an industrial designer, her background spans medical device design, interior design, and architectural product design.

Marina recognizes the meaningful impact design can have in people’s lives - a belief she shares with design students as an adjunct faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design. A designer by day and a hobby baker by night, her favorite thing in the world is creating new baking recipes for her blog and sharing them from afar with her family in Puerto Rico.

Ellie Mowry

Office Manager

The truth is, Ellie keeps Sproutel humming. Perseverant, positive, and quick to crack a joke, Ellie is key to everything from human resources to accounting and customer support to team happiness. She was previously an AmeriCorps VISTA member focused on community service in low-income neighborhoods.

After losing her mom to cancer, Ellie came to Sproutel to carry forward her mission of “‘paying it forward” - an ethos her mom put into action even during her own cancer treatment journey. She loves writing, collecting Playbills, and is a Guinness World Record holder - you’ll just have to ask her to find out more.

Let's create the future together.

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