About Us

Founders Story

Deena has always been a firm believer in “We are what we eat” and recognizing that life expectancy is decreasing in the 21st century, she began a search to explain the decline of our public health by looking to history for the answer. 

Before the 1960’s the foods we consumed and even textiles we wore were “natural” and “made from scratch”. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, America became the “land of plenty” and a programmed shift was underway from “natural” and “made from scratch” to “processed” and “made for convenience”. 

Deena observed that after decades of eating nutrient deficient ultra-processed foods it became clear that our collective health has suffered. Such unhealthy foods, abundantly consumed, created an epidemic of “lifestyle illnesses” and continued the reduction in average life expectancies. 

Drawing on her pharma background, interest in nutrition, health and lifelong love of pets, she reached out to PhytoSmart co-founder Hiro Hara. Hiro is a scientist, who grew up in a veterinary family and who understood the value of nutrients found only in fresh foods, the fresh foods that are so important to keep pets and people active and vital throughout life.

Together they founded PhytoSmart with the mission to sustainably produce vital phytonutrients that are essential to pets and people. To accomplish this they decided to first focus on omega-3 fatty acids and looked to its ubiquitous source – species of ocean algae. Five years of research and development resulted in their patented technology which continuously grows sustainable, safe and highly bioavailable forms of omega-3 essential fatty acids.

The result of their efforts are ZipZyme™ Omega Paste and Krumble™. ZipZyme™ products are a novel, innovative and disruptive nutritional therapy. ZipZyme™ supports pet health from the inside out. Whether feeding your pet ZipZyme™ to address a particular health condition or as an “apple a day” preventive protection, ZipZyme™ helps to support pet health and vitality throughout every stage of life.

The Team

Deena Sisitsky, M.B.A.

Co-Founder, MBA, CEO

Deena is a self-proclaimed pet lover with a proven executive management track record driving growth in the pharmaceutical and technology industries. She oversaw the introduction including gaining regulatory approval of a Pharma product during a previous global epidemic that gained “drug of choice” status among infectious disease physicians.

Hiro Hara, M.B.A.

Co-Founder, MBA, CSO

Hiro helped introduce US medical technology companies to the Asian market for much of his career. He developed PhytoSmart’s patented Sterile Plastic Algal Growth System (SPAGS) to produce heterotrophic algae continuously in a sterile environment with a very high yield per reactor per growth cycle, in contrast to the more expensive yet less productive traditional heterotrophic algal fermentation technology.

Patrick Cregten

Operations Director

Patrick is a marine biologist and aquaculturist educated at James Cook University in Australia. He had five years of professional experience in the U.S. and Canada before joining the PhytoSmart team. Patrick’s expertise in recirculating aquaculture systems affords him the mechanical aptitude, teamwork, and management skills that make him integral to PhytoSmart’s daily operating platform

Tazz Latifi

Marketing & Business Development

Tazz acquired her proven expertise to influence consumer choices in the pet retail and pet product development space throughout her 20-year business development and operational pet-centric career. Tazz specializes in training and education about food choices, nutrition, and wellness with pet owners, pet product manufacturers, and pet retail professionals. Tazz's influence is further amplified through herprominent blog and podcast, where she curates insightful interviews with esteemed business and academic experts hailing from the health, food and supplement sectors. She now focuses her in-depth knowledge of consumer needs, perceptions, and habits to make ZipZyme™ products a force in the ever-confusing pet food and supplement industry.

Howie Hecht

Digital Business Advisor

Howie is a Boston-based entrepreneur and cofounder of a digital advertising startup. Howie excels in digital marketing and advertising both B2B and B2C products and services across many verticals. After earning his degree from MIT and the Sloan School of Management in 1996, Howie built up his background in management consulting and product leadership across many different verticals including content delivery (Akamai Technologies), networking (Sockeye Networks), security (Symantec via acquisition of Altiris via acquisition of Pedestal Software), compliance, financial services, mobile, and more.

Dr. Jeffrey Feinman, B.A.

VMD, CVH, Veterinary Science Advisor

Dr. Feinman holds molecular biology and veterinary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. His work focuses on melding the current conventional veterinary medical paradigm with the potentially more sustainable model of ethnoveterinary medicine practiced by indigenous people who live in accord with nature to care for their animals. Dr. Feinman integrates molecular biology with homeopathy to activate and work with natural healing mechanisms. He devotes much of his energies to his organizations Holistic Actions! and The Holistic Actions! Foundation.

Dr. Jed Fahey

DSc. Scientific Advisor

Dr. Fahey is a nutritional biochemist with broad training and extensive background in plant physiology, human nutrition, phytochemistry and nutritional biochemistry and biotechnology. He spent 27 years as a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. There, Dr. Fahey helped to create, and oversee the Cullman Chemoprotection Center, which has developed plant-based agents for enhancing healthspan for many years. Dr. Fahey now maintains adjunct faculty positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, George Mason University Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. In 2023, Dr. Fahey was appointed to the faculty of the University of Maine, Institute of Medicine.