Each year, over 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Verb venture Sproutel tackles the challenge of empowering these children to better understand and manage their illness with their first healthcare innovation; an electronic stuffed teddy bear named Jerry the Bear.
Creating a prototype bear
In 2011, Sproutel was granted a social innovation fellowship from Brown University, co-sponsored by Verb’s Dell Social Innovation Challenge. This experience helped the Sproutel team create a prototype for Jerry the Bear, and gave them the courage to kick off full-scale design and production efforts.
A business impacting children’s lives
Sproutel shares that Verb and the Dell Social Innovation Challenge gave them an incredible amount of value throughout their company’s life-cycle over the years. Today, Jerry the Bear impacts the lives of children by providing meaningful companionship and teaching them learning through a touchscreen display that helps them master how to count carbs, monitor their blood sugar levels and dose insulin.
New partnership opportunities
In spring 2015, we recruited Sproutel to participate in a new project between Verb and IBM– a filmed reality web mini-series featuring five top millennial social entrepreneurs living in a house together in Austin, TX. During this week, Sproutel and four other ventures worked closely with VIP mentors and potential investors to refine their strategies for product distribution, financial planning and customer outreach.
Poised for expansion and lasting impact
Sproutel has successfully placed Jerry the Bear in 25% of U.S. pediatric endocrinologist offices, and they have made a name for themselves within the diabetes community as well as the larger healthcare and technology networks. In 2014, 4% of children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes received Jerry the Bear, and research shows that children continue to play with him for over an hour each week even six months after purchase.
Just like all chronic illnesses, diabetes management takes a village. By transforming how children with Type 1 diabetes learn to manage their healthcare through play, Sproutel is a perfect example of how Verb empowers ventures to create impact, shatter silos and change their industries in a positive way.