A year in the life of a start-up can mean a great difference in fortunes, good and bad. We checked in with the founders of the six winners of Philadelphia Media Network's inaugural Stellar StartUps competition in 2016 to learn the most significant business development each experienced in the last year and the biggest goal for 2017.
Arcadian Telepsychiatry LLC, Fort Washington, Health Care winner
Accomplishment: "We have developed a program to address hospital readmissions for psychiatric patients," said Robert Plotkin, president and CEO of the company, which provides video-enabled mental-health services. "Four out of the top 10 reasons for readmissions are behavioral-health and substance-use disorders. Through the use of telepsychiatry, care coaches, and digital engagement tools, we can change the outcomes for many of those patients who would otherwise be readmitted."
2017 goal: To launch its readmissions program with a regional health plan.
The Grayson School, Broomall, Women/Minority Entrepreneurs winner
Accomplishment: "Meaningful growth in admissions and development," said Melissa Bilash, founder and co-director. "We now have 34 students attending our school."
2017 goal: Greatly enhance projects-based learning opportunities with a new MakerSpace, funded in part with $20,000 raised for software, equipment, and tools.
Gridless Power, Collingswood, Technology winner
Accomplishment: "Expanding the Gridless rental program across the country," said Patrick Murphy, cofounder and president of the start-up specializing in portable battery packs. "We've gotten the opportunity to help power everything from film shoots to events and construction."
2017 goal: Releasing new products that can power heavier equipment.
Tern Water, Philadelphia, Products/Services winner
Accomplishment: Recruiting advisers across multiple industries that will be essential to the growth of Tern, developer of a smart faucet, as well as working out a time line with both manufacturers and buyers to deliver the Tern Faucet and Know Your Water analysis to consumers, said founder and CEO Mohamed Zerban, a Drexel University senior.
2017 goal: Launching Know Your Water across the United States to provide users with a detailed report of what's in their water within 10 days of sampling, then launching Tern Faucet for pre-orders later in the year.
ThirdEye Technologies, Philadelphia, College Students winner
Accomplishment: In February, ThirdEye, the creation of University of Pennsylvania students who developed an app that provides auditory feedback to the blind and visually impaired, was acquired by the Blind Guide, an e-commerce company in South Carolina.
2017 goal: None related to the company by the original ThirdEye team.
Renterval LLC, Berwyn, Just Plain Cool Idea winner
Accomplishment: Topped $100,000 in revenue in 2016 for the first time and "substantially" grew its user base, founder and CEO Andy Chambers said of his company, which enables rental businesses to accept real-time online booking of any type of equipment. It also signed a strategic partnership with GoEmerchant, a local credit-card processing company.