Underrepresented Startup Founders Take Center Stage

Stefanie Diaz from Catalyst by Wellstar served as a guest judge in a national competition

Startup founders nationwide participated in the 20th Startup Runway Showcase in Atlanta earlier this month. Featuring three prizes of $10k in grant money and judges from several industries, the event allowed founders to bring their products to a broader audience.

The Startup Runaway Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that provides underrepresented founders with mentorship, visibility, and connections to capital.

Stefanie Diaz, Industry Discovery and Venture lead at Catalyst by Wellstar, was a guest judge on the showcase. Stefanie proudly represented Catalyst, as the Startup Runway Showcase highlights our values of honoring every voice, using capital to change lives, and providing mentorship, visibility and industry connections to individuals from underserved communities.

As the first-of-its-kind innovation company and venture firm, Catalyst is committed to transforming ideas into solutions that will improve lives in our community and beyond.

Stefanie Diaz and Laura Valentine holding a $10k check.
Stefanie Diaz, Industry Discovery and Venture lead at Catalyst by Wellstar, and Laura Valentine, founder of Lavni, winner of a $10k grant at the 20th Startup Runway Showcase in Atlanta.

The 20th Startup Runway Showcase winners were Shaun Andrews, founder of Mind HAC, Laura Valentine, founder of Lavni, and Joshua Afolabi, founder of 2GGO.

These winners underwent a national selection process that culminated in a live, in-person pitch session at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta

Two of the companies are working to address mental health. Mind HAC curates music playlists for users dealing with stress, depression and anxiety, together with binaural waves to calm the brain. Lavni is a platform for underserved individuals that guides them to mental, emotional and behavioral wellness.

2GGO is a marketing and retail platform for fashion and beauty products, offering real-time inventory and same-day delivery.

All finalists of the 20th Startup Runway Showcase in Atlanta on stage.
Finalists from all over the country came to Atlanta for the live pitch session.

Wellstar Health System, one of the largest and most integrated healthcare systems in Georgia, is committed to the health and well-being of every person we serve. Catalyst by Wellstar advances this commitment by providing a glimpse into the future, identifying challenges and opportunities, and fostering non-traditional solutions to achieve better healthcare for all.

One of the ways we accomplish this mission is by investing in companies and individuals with breakthrough ideas and using these investments to drive research and development that will benefit our patients.

For more information about Startup Runway and the winning companies, visit their website and LinkedIn profile. To learn more about Catalyst by Wellstar, including how to submit ideas or proposals to us, explore our current opportunities.

Fernando Mattos
by Fernando Mattos