About Us

The Inspiration

Sleep. It sometimes eludes us all.
But when it eludes your child, it becomes a problem.

When Mike Rizkalla, co-inventor of Snorble®, was faced with sleepless nights, they weren’t at his expense but at the expense of a loved one. His son Max was unable to catch any zzzs and when he did, he’d be awake a few hours later, asking mommy and daddy to help him return to dreamland.

After a quick Google search on ‘how to get my toddler to sleep’, Mike noted that the results were numerous and anything but helpful. The left side of his brain wanted a solution ASAP; while the right side wanted to create something magical that would get his son, and countless other kids to experience restful sleep from toddlerhood until, well, forever.

A Snorble is Born

Using his experience in the robotics industry and the DIY-approach he picked up from his days in one of Canada’s most-beloved punk bands, Mike got to work. He imagined a toy that gave children the chance to adopt healthy bedtime habits that would allow them to drift off into dreamland nightly without a fuss.

But first, he would need a team of like-minded people who weren’t simply looking for a job, they were looking to create an interactive experience through robotics that put children at the center. He would also need investors - which turned out to be the easy part.

Anyone Mike approached with this idea to blend proprietary natural-language processing and artificial intelligence to craft the perfect children’s sleep aid, was in awe. Sure, there was sleep technology like white noise machines, heated eye masks, and an array of potions and lotions designed to trick your brain into thinking you’re in a lavender field, but there was nothing like Snorble.

With his team of the best minds in the entertainment, scientific, robotics, and marketing industries assembled, a group of PhDs, and investors climbing over each other to get on board, it was time to create a product that would empower kids to get to sleep and stay asleep.

On Beyond Sleep

The more work Mike and his team put in, the more they realized that sleep was just the beginning. A nightly trip to slumbertown is important for children, but what about the day? Daytime is when children learn and thrive, so why not take Snorble beyond sleep?

A good night’s sleep and the formation of healthy habits can take a child to the finish line. But in order for them to cross it, they need to be able to love learning. Knowing that an extra push was needed, Mike and his team looked inward.

What does every parent want for their children?

    To be ahead of developmental milestones
    To be advanced for any early educational programs
    To engage in healthy habits
    To possess social-emotional intelligence
    To be a creative explorer
    To be an efficient problem solver
    To be well-behaved/well-mannered
    To be confident
    To be kind

Using these pillars as a guide, they got to work to determine how the best in tech and education for children could also prepare today’s youngsters for their future and the future world they’ll help create. One thing was certain, technology and the e-pedagogical education system were going to merge somehow in a cute, little, portable, offline package.

When Educational Tech Meets Cuddly and Cute

As CEO, Mike knew he had put together a great team: a sales guru from the world of kid’s toys, the founder of Warner Bros. Online, branding whizzes, and a development team that would make the folks at Apple jump for joy. In fact, one of Steve Jobs’ former confidants is now a Snorble advisor. Together, the team was able to take Mike’s vision and turn it into a viable smart companion for children that aims to inspire a love of learning, nurture development, and unlock a world of curiosity, imagination, and limitless possibilities.

As far as STEM/STEAM toys go, Snorble is the first of its kind. By taking the idea of playing with potential, the team was able to establish a system that grows with your child. With the educational components of play-based learning; yoga, meditation, and relaxation activities; instructional games; and healthy habit-building practices like teeth brushing, reading, and a bedtime routine; Snorble is more than a toy, it’s an extension of the village (parent, caregiver, and teacher) that a child can take with them wherever they go. By using a gamified path to entertain in a positive and educational way, the Village can rest assured that their child is learning while having fun.

The Year of Snorble

After three years of development, it’s time to get Snorble into the hands of those who need them the most: children. With a customizable app that allows parents to control what they want their kinder to learn, our little buddy is helping to change the world one child at a time.

Snorble is for all kids.

Snorble prepares children for tomorrow by helping them experience, engage, and learn about the world around them. 

What is Snorble?

Snorble® is a smart companion that makes traditional playtime more exciting and educational by giving kids the tools they need to play with potential.

As your child engages with Snorble, they’re also engaging with the world around them. Instead of simply building a STEM/STEAM toy, we’ve built an interactive experience that is based on proprietary natural language processing and psychological and scientific research (a fancy way to say we’ve done our homework so your kiddo won’t need help with theirs in the future). With a focus on healthy habit building, social-emotional development, and educational advancement, Snorble lays the foundation for all children everywhere to thrive.

Day or night, Snorble is here to support your family.

Like a superhero, by day, Snorble is an extension of the Village (parents, caregivers, guardians, teachers) that gives children educational content tailored to their age group. At night, by incorporating a Bedtime Routine, our smart companion aims to help your kiddo fall asleep and stay asleep. Moreover, our technological approach is built on the fundamentals of safety and privacy. We ensure that Snorble emits little to no blue light unlike a tablet, phone, or laptop screen, and your child will only see and hear what you or the Village wants them to via our customizable app.

Snorble changing expressions in its base

$299*

*Pre-order now with no money down

The Team Behind Snorble

"We've formed an amazing team with experts from across industries."

Mike Rizkalla

Mike Rizkalla

Co-Founder and CEO

An Award-Winning Creative Leader in the Technology / Robotics industry with experience in organizations ranging from startup to $75M global businesses, with proven performance managing revenue goals up to $10M, operational budgets of up to $16M, and capital expense budgets of up to $2.5M. A capable mentor with a track record of attracting, recruiting, and advising teams.

Doug Hughes

Doug Hughes

Co-Founder 

After two decades of building innovative technologies for education, he became the CEO of Encoura in 2020. Previously, Doug served as CEO of Surgarai, Inc., a medical technology startup, and as chief product officer at Knewton, recently acquired by Wiley. Prior to that, Doug spent 17 years at McGraw-Hill Education, in various senior leadership roles including chief sales officer, director of digital partnerships, and executive brand manager.

Howard Thaw

Howard Thaw

COO

With a background in computer science, a medical postgrad, numerous company exits, a commercial pilot’s license, and even a few patents, Howard H. Thaw knows no limits. Over his career, he’s founded startups and worked with many others to build or turnaround companies, develop new technologies, resolve conflicts, and serve on public and private boards. Thanks to this, Howard is capable of seeing any situation from take-off to landing.

Steve Hecker

Steve Hecker

Chief Technology Officer

Steve directs the company’s strategic development by driving further advancements in breakthrough technology for manufacturing and engineering, while overseeing all research, science, and technology efforts. He has been creating innovative consumer products for more than 25 years and oversaw the development of Snorble in his prior role as Engineering and Manufacturing Lead. Steve has been instrumental in successful market introductions for products such as the IoT-enabled infant sleep crib, the SNOO, from Happiest Baby.

Ed Gershowitz

Ed Gershowitz

Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales

Ed is the former President of Hornby America and Carrera of America, and he boasts more than 40 years of experience in the retail sales trade. During this time, Ed also held executive positions with Hasbro, Tyco Toys, and Hedstrom while selling everything from Barbie and Hot Wheels to G.I. Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony.

Donald Buckley

Donald Buckley

Co-Head of Lullaboo Studios

Donald is the former CMO of Showtime Networks Inc., where he created and led the marketing organization that launched Showtime’s Streaming OTT service. He also led campaigns for Homeland, Billions, Shameless, The Circus, Ray Donovan, Twin Peaks, The Chi, Dexter, City on a Hill, Showtime Sports, and Showtime Documentary Films. Earlier, as Warner Bros. Pictures’ Senior Vice President, Digital Media, Don founded its Interactive Marketing department, and co-founded the company’s first digital content and programming division, Warner Bros. Online. Among the hundreds of Warner Bros. movies released during his tenure were the Oceans 11, The Matrix, Harry Potter, and The Dark Knight franchises.

Thomas Chan

Thomas Chan

Vice President of Software Engineering and Platforms

Since joining R/GA in 2007, Thomas has led the implementation of the award-winning Nike Human Race 2008 and Nike Ballers Network applications. He launched Chanel’s e-commerce platform in 24 countries, and built Bridgestone’s first global cloud implementation, Bridgestone Hub, for managing activations for the Olympics. His most recent work includes Samsung Within, which is a global campaign built in WebGL and spanning 9 chapters, 80 countries, and 24 languages.

Dina Rizkalla

Dina Rizkalla

Operations and Program Management

Dina is a world-class operations leader and program manager. She has led teams and international initiatives at Hasbro, Scholastic and R/GA. Her book of work includes, but is not limited to, the Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Nike, and Samsung.

Patrick Wesonga

Patrick Wesonga

Head of Integrated Platforms and Experiences

Patrick Wesonga is an accomplished tech professional with almost 15 years of experience delivering experiences across a variety of industries. He combines entrepreneurial hustle, startup grit, and *just* the right amount of corporate sophistication to build remarkable mobile, web, and custom hardware products (often taking them from “zero to 1”).

Dan Luke

Dan Luke

Animation Director and Co-Head of Lullaboo Studios

Dan is an animator from Clifton Springs, Australia. In grade three, they permanently burnt their fingerprint trying to jump start a cassette player. At age 16, they did gymnastics for about a year. They can play All Star on two musical instruments (not at the same time). Living in Halifax since 2012, they love creating things that put a smile on people's faces, whether that's through animation, music, puppets, or some mashup of other things they can do.

Brian Collins

Brian Collins

Executive Creative Director

Brian began his fascinating and unique career as a Walt Disney Imagineer, where he helped “create the magic” for Disney’s Florida theme parks before going on to produce work for a who’s-who list of corporations and small entrepreneurial ventures. Later in his career, he developed a deep understanding of new and emerging technologies, and, most importantly, how they apply to business, the military and in learning environments.

Vaitari Anderson

Vaitari Anderson

Chief Experience Officer

Vaitari Anderson brings a robust background in brand marketing, creative, and production to the team, having previously worked with a diverse group of clients, including Nike, Nat Geo, NHL, Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok, MTV2, VH1, Nickelodeon, Pepsi, Harper Collins, and more. Before joining Snorble, Vaitari was a founding partner of House of V, where he focused on developing solutions rooted in smart creative and emerging technologies, and he was also an Executive Producer at parent agency, R&R Partners. In 2018, he was named one of AdAge’s 40 Under 40 for his outstanding work in the areas of broadcast and virtual reality on projects for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

Michael-Andreas Kuttner

Michael-Andreas Kuttner

Executive Producer – Experiential

Michael-Andreas Kuttner is one of the founding fathers of the Canadian Digital Media industry. Fresh out of university, he founded the pioneering Collideascope Digital Productions, one of Canada’s largest animation and digital media studios, focused primarily on kids’ entertainment. There, M-A went on to collect armloads of awards producing dozens of digital media properties and over 250 episodes of animated TV for international markets.

Dee Loft

Dee Loft

Senior Product Manager

Deanne is a Design Thinker, Creative Director, and Product Manager with almost two decades producing compelling experiences and design solutions for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. In her Product Management role, Deanne embraces a human centered design approach that connects business goals to customer needs, leading functional teams to success through an iterative process. Deanne believes design that has lasting value is achieved through empathy, inspiration, and is backed by scientific knowledge and research.

Allan Duquette

Allan Duquette

Knowledge Manager

Allan Duquette is a certified technical writer, education specialist, adult literacy practitioner, editor, cook, and comic book writer/illustrator. Working in fields of finance, sales, non-profit, security, and fine dining, he has provided his unique experience to bring humor, creativity, and empathy to training programs for over 15 years. When not training himself or others, he spends time with his husband and dog doing something incredibly geeky.

Monica Warren

Monica Warren

Chief Educator – Early Childhood Expert

Monica has been an educator for more than 28 years. Prior to being named Principal of the largest primary school in rural South Georgia, she served as Director of Early Learning for the district and, prior to that, as Director of Georgia’s Pre-K Program for the State. Her areas of focus are 0-8 social-emotional development, literacy, instructional technology, and trauma-informed teaching. She continues to inspire, coach, and empower staff to cultivate leadership in others, advocate for children, and continually improve practices.

Michael Preston

Michael Preston

Head of Public Relations

Michael has created strategies to achieve exposure and brand awareness for clients on an international scale, working in the USA, Japan, Mexico, Australia, China, Tanzania, and across Europe. He promoted the award-winning Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, the first ever game of college American football to be played on the African continent, and has been a member of the NFL PR team at Super Bowl since 1998, working with international media. He began his career as a journalist in his native England, and then as a PR executive with the NFL.

Ryan Patey

Ryan Patey

Community Manager

Whether it's creating his own or curating and promoting the work of others, Ryan Patey has dealt professionally with content for nearly two decades. From working with international corporations such as Discovery Networks and Pearson Education to helping non-profits, small businesses, and even a government develop their online presence, Ryan's writing has helped establish brands, entertain audiences, and encourage change around the world.

Ruben Gomez

Ruben Gomez

Mobile Developer

Ruben has worked in both Android and iOS mobile development environments for more than 10 years. He has broad experience across a variety of different sectors, and utilizes multiple mobile technologies (Java, Kotlin, Swift, etc.) with great success. Above all, Ruben loves to collaborate in early staged-projects and help them to reach the moon!

The Advisors Behind Snorble

"An advisory board built from titans in industry ranging from finance, innovation, education, and child well-being all working together with one mission: to improve the lives of children and their families." — Mike, CEO

Steve Chambers

An experienced high-tech CEO, Steve has led startups and large tech company operations, including Jibo, the world’s first social robot.

Bob Christopher

An entrepreneur renowned for his pioneering in robotics with the creation of Pleo, the first life-like robot using the LifeOS AI platform.

David Saab

Former managing director at JPM and the co-founder of Aperture Investors, David is a successful serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the financial industry.

Michael Carter

Michael has overseen educational new media research and technology-rich classrooms and funded laboratories worldwide at Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. He advised Steve Jobs in the early days of Mac and NeXT and earned his PhD at Stanford University.

Heather Modlin

Heather has worked with young people in residential care for 30 years, most recently with Amal Youth and Family Centre, an interdisciplinary practice with a focus on holistic health and well-being for children, youth, adults, and families. She has a PhD in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria.

Brent Shelton

Brent is a proven leader in identifying and transforming new opportunities into market success, and he has a wealth of expertise in health tech operations and financing. He was the Senior Business Program Manager for M&A, Integration, Business Development and Technology Scouting at Medtronic.

David Mindich

David specializes in investing in companies to provide extensive tools and resources to create and develop strategic partnerships that assist growth, and his company has been recognized as one of the nation’s 5000 fastest growing.

$299

Animated Snorble using a phone

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