As we’ve noted, Philly headed to South by Southwest with a significant presence this year, including Mayor Jim Kenney himself.
And one local health IT company just cashed in from that national exposure: Keriton, the makers of a breast milk management system, beat out 150 other startups to win the top prize in the Digital Health portion of the Impact Pediatric Health pitch competition.
Philly’s health IT scene is no stranger to SXSW awards: in 2015, BioBots won “Most Innovative.”
What did the Dreamit grad startup, founded by Penn graduate student Vidur Bhatnagar win? $15,000 and meetings with eight children’s hospitals across U.S.
Landing the win earned Bhatnagar some social media praise from the Philly camp at SXSW, including StartUp PHL’s Archna Sahay:
Is this THE startup of #sxsw 2017?! I think so!! Congrats to @KeritonInc for winning 1st place in the @pediatricpitch competition!! #philly pic.twitter.com/xpQiHwhiGI
— Archna (@ArchnaSahay) March 13, 2017
Over the phone from California, where he was pitching Keriton to Stanford’s pediatrics hospital, Bhatnagar told Technical.ly that taking the main prize was a humbling experience.
“The judges for both the qualifying and final rounds were top pediatric clinicians and hospital executives from eight leading hospitals,” said Bhatnagar. “That’s a great validation of the product that Keriton is trying to bring to the market.”
Philly's own @KeritonInc won #SXSW's Impact Pediactric Pitch Competition! 🏅 Congrats!#AmplifyPhilly pic.twitter.com/Q3wtZWUEUK
— PhillyStartupLeaders (@startupleaders) March 13, 2017
The competition was fierce, said the Indian native and former SAP India employee.
“At some point I thought, ‘These [other] guys are winning for sure,’ but the reason we won is that we’re solving a real world problem,” he said.
The engineer received the award flanked by his sister Vidushi Bhatnagar, the inspiration for the Keriton platform: Vidushi’s baby was born three weeks prematurely and was unable to breastfeed while the baby recovered from having fluid in her lungs.
“It was very special having her there with me,” the founder said. “It goes to show you how startups can really me make a diference in a real world problem.”
Before hanging up, Bhatnagar asked us to include a verbatim statement and thank, by name, a few community members.
Just this one time, Vidur!
“I want to dedicate this award to the city of Philadelphia,” the founder said. “I’m happy to call Philly our home because the entire community has been so supportive specially folks like Penn Medicine, Penn Engineering, Wharton, IBX, BioAdvance, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Dreamit, DormRoomFund, the Mayor’s Office, Philly Startup Leaders and StartUp PHL. This is a reflection of a Philadelphia company winning at a global stage.”
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