A man with a cooking passion since childhood. High school friends who bonded over a chemistry project. A former EMT whose on-the-ground experience triggered a desire to figure out a better way to get patients to medical appointments.
They are among the Inquirer’s 2018 Stellar StartUps winners. From nearly 100 contenders, winners in nine categories were announced Thursday night at a gala at South Bowl Lounge N’ Lanes in Philadelphia. They were selected by a panel of judges with an expertise in entrepreneurship and start-ups, an increasingly important part of the region’s economy and driven by a range of founders, including students, millennials, and those who left the corporate world by choice or downsizing and are now pursuing a second act.
The contest is a months-long effort to spotlight the inventiveness and doggedness of the region’s start-up leaders.
Terrance C.Z. Egger, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, noted that it was the company’s third year to host the event that recognizes some of the outstanding entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region.
The winners by category are:
Health Care: RoundTrip
The start-up removes barriers to care by connecting health-care providers with transport, to get patients the very best ride. RoundTrip software streamlines patients’ ride coordination for hospitals, health plans, medical transportation providers, caregivers, and patients. Mark Switaj, founder and CEO. Founded in Center City, now in several states (www.rideroundtrip.com).
“It’s incredibly rewarding to help build employment opportunities here in Philadelphia,” said Switaj. “I knew the system of health-care transportation was broken and I spent a lot of time on fixing the problem.”