Catalyst by Wellstar at Venture Atlanta 2023

Last month, Catalyst by Wellstar participated in Venture Atlanta, the largest venture capital conference in the Southeast, to find and help fund startup companies with the potential to shape the future of healthcare and deliver on Wellstar’s mission to enhance the health and wellbeing of every patient we serve.

By participating in the startup ecosystem, Wellstar can better contribute to advancing care for our patients while also creating market value for future healthcare breakthroughs and care models.

Catalyst by Wellstar participated in the conference in three ways. First, John D Cooper, Catalyst by Wellstar’s head of venture investment, was a judge in the inaugural Startup Showcase Live competition where 10 young companies, or “seed-stage” companies, presented their business plans for the chance to secure a $500k investment to fuel their innovation. Over 500 companies submitted applications, which were evaluated by an investment committee including input from Catalyst. Ten companies were selected to present on the first day of the conference, and this list was narrowed to four who presented on day 2 which included live questions and answers from a panel of judges including John D.

The winning company selected was, a self-esteem-based e-learning platform and gaming app that uses machine learning, gamification, and data to make self-esteem education fun for K-12 students. also provides an on-site mental health curriculum for schools. This was a special moment for the Catalyst team as the founder, Margo Jordan participated in a Goodie Nation peer-to-peer huddle group mentored by Stefanie Diaz, Catalyst by Wellstar’s industry discovery and venture deal flow lead.

Second, Stefanie Diaz spoke at the Goodie Nation Intentionally Good Summit, which took place concurrently with Venture Atlanta.  Goodie Nation exists to eliminate the relationship gap that stands in the way of success for too many promising entrepreneurs, especially those who are people of color, women, or aren’t located in coastal financial centers. On this panel discussion, Stefanie shared the various ways Catalyst is engaging with Goodie Nation founders through mentorship and think tanks held at Wellstar’s Corporate Office, and announced a new pilot project with Wellstar Talent Acquisition and Goodie Nation portfolio company Transition to recruit Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) more efficiently. There is a shortage of these skilled team members, and Wellstar is hoping to benefit from the established networks Transition has to strengthen its pipeline of talented candidates to fill these important roles.

Lastly, Catalyst announced a pilot project & direct investment in Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) HealthTech portfolio company RIF Robotics to use AI and robotics to automate the sterilization process of surgical tools used in hospitals to improve patient and team member safety while enhancing operational efficiency. With this direct investment and pilot project, RIF Robotics will be able to take the next step in product development and testing at Wellstar Windy Hill Hospital.

ATDC is a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator whose mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies.

The significant impact of ATDC on the innovation and startup ecosystem can be seen throughout Venture Atlanta; three of the 10 seed-stage companies who presented in the Startup Showcase Live competition were ATDC portfolio companies.

Because of ATDC’s successful track record and impact, Catalyst by Wellstar will be partnering with ATDC’s Health Technology vertical for the next 3 years to accelerate a dedicated health tech pipeline of viable Georgia-based startups, while improving health care, cost, and patient experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about Venture Atlanta, particularly how women are influencing the flow of capital and innovation in the Southeast, we’d encourage you to listen to this special five-part She Conquers Capital podcast series powered by Catalyst and hosted by Stefanie Diaz. Hear from Catalyst’s head of innovation Jaimie Clark, senior manager of Catalyst venture Lauren Oyster and Venture Atlanta CEO Allyson Eman.

Patric Rayburn
by Patric Rayburn