Business development / Funding / Startups

What have Philly’s 2023 RealLIST Startups been up to these last 6 months?

From new funding to product launches and expanding the team, the honorees on this year's roundup of promising young companies have been busy growing.

CollX is an app for collectible cards. (Courtesy CollX)
Correction: Passthrough has grown to 600 clients, not 50, as the company originally reported. (8/18/23, 8:40 a.m.)
Where are they now?

Twenty up-and-coming Philly startups joined the ranks of our esteemed RealLIST Startups in January. Since it’s been about six months since that roundup of promising young companies came out, we checked in on these companies to hear what they’ve been up to.

Here’s what their leaders told us:

10. EdLight

Teryn Thomas, cofounder and CEO of EdLight. (Courtesy photo)

Edtech company EdLight developed an app that allows educators to provide feedback to students. Last fall, the company participated in the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders.

This summer Edlight announced that it would be a recipient of Google for Startups Black and Latino Founders Fund. The company has also been encouraging followers to vote for its AI- and education-themed SXSW talk.

9. SnapRefund

SnapRefund on a stage holding microphones.

Cody Eddings (right) and Anis Taylor (left) cofounders of SnapRefund. (Courtesy photo)

SnapRefund designed a platform for small and mid-sized insurance companies to send payments to customers faster. Since being named to the RealLIST in January, the company has acquired multiple clients, received investment from the Raynier Fund and Drexel University and the Techstars Boulder Accelerator, and has grown to a team of 11, according to CEO and cofounder Cody Eddings.

This month, SnapRefund is announcing API and mass payments features that make it easier for clients to manage claim payments.


Ryan Buchert and Felicite Moorman. (Courtesy image), an automated business operations platform, has been busy adjusting its strategy to meet the wave of public AI popularity. This means the company shifted its “AI and data architectures” and expanded its AI team more than originally planned, according to cofounder and CEO Felicite Moorman.

The company doubled its entire team, but delayed its product launch, Moorman said. also raised almost a million dollars in its pre-seed friends and family round, and announced the launch of a seed round.


LLUNA, a people operations platform, has a busy year in 2022 expanding its team and participating in Comcast NBCUniversal’s 2022 LIFT Labs accelerator. Since being named to the RealLIST, the company appears to stay active on social media, but doesn’t seem to have made any big announcements. Catch cofounder Jess Podgajny on this May episode of the Founding Philly podcast.

6. Regression Games

Regression Games’ Aaron Vontell. (Courtesy photo)

AI-focused gaming company Regression Games expanded its team and ran a successful AI tournament in the last six months, founder Aaron Vontell said. The company also launched a new product for using bots in games.

The company has not needed to raise more funds yet, but has experienced positive company growth and product development, per Vontell.

5. Collx

Trading card app Collx raised a $5.5 million seed round in February and launched a CollX Pro subscription tier in April.The company also launched CollX Marketplace for buying and selling cards and hit 1 million registered users in July, per co founder Ted Mann.

4. Omni

Omni cofounders Chris Merrick (left), Colin Zima and Jamie Davidson. (Courtesy photo)

Business intelligence company Omni announced commercial availability of its platform for internal analytics in February. Omni’s tool generates data models and components from SQL, creating a sandbox data model and allowing users to use metrics across a whole organization.

3. Sena Health

Healthcare-at-home company Sena Health added 17 staff members since January, and continues to expand its team with plans for five more hires over the next month.

The company welcomed three new customers and has two more coming up in September, as well as added a new service line called SENA at Work. This service line “supports employers and employees in healthcare navigation and care coordination services,” said Chris Westberg, who heads marketing for Sena.

2. Cayaba Care

Members of the Cayaba Care team. (Courtesy photo)

Black maternal health startup Cayaba Care announced a partnership this spring with Axia Women’s Health, allowing Axia patients access to Cayaba’s platform.

1. Patina Health

Patina Health, a virtual healthcare platform focused on older adults, has started working with Independence Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, and Humana since January. That means Patina is now available to more than 300,000 members in participating Medicare Advantage plans.

In July, the company launched its services in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is now partnered with Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans in 10 counties in North and South Carolina, according to Allison Stecko, a third party PR rep.

The company also increased its headcount by 15% since January with new employees in technology, product development, data and analytics, clinical and partnerships and marketing.

And in no particular order, here’s what some of our runners-up have been up to since January:

  • Kith + Kin has grown by almost 4,000 users and launched partnerships with Exceptional Families of the Military and Husk Health. The company also closed its additional seed round of approximately $1 million.
  • HeyKiddo won a Phase II National Science Foundation Grant for almost $1 million. The company also received $400,000 from the Lion’s Den from John Martinson and Ira Lubert in May. All of this funding will be used to expand the team and work on product goals. The company is now partnered with Husk Wellness and will be launching a pilot with Husk in September.
  • BLOK has been focused on manufacturing and is now starting to manufacture BLOK units. The company raised another seed round and is preparing for a fall launch.
  • Baleena participated in gener8tor Sustainability Spring 2023 and Science Inc. Accelerator. In leadership news, the company’s CEO, Julia Yan, became a 776 Foundation fellow, and previous CTO Shoshana Weintraud left the company to pursue a Ph.D. The company raised funding from the 776 Foundation and gener8tor and is preparing for a limited product release in early December.
  • Vertige participated in the Pennovation Accelerator this summer. The company is partnered with the Vestibular Disorders Association and will be working with them, a doctor from the Medical University of South Carolina, a doctor from Johns Hopkins, and a research scientist from NASA on a 100-person clinical trial. Vertige also added a freelance UI/UX designer, a freelance developer and two social media interns to its team and plans to launch its app with updated features in a few months.
  • ToxiSense has been working on research and development for its product in its new lab space at the University City Science Center. In February, the company won the Intel Water Prize at the ASU Innovation Open startup competition and received a $50,000 grant. The team is also finalizing their product’s patents.
  • Passthrough raised a $10 million series A and grew to 600 clients. This year, the company has announced partnerships with private equity service providers and technology companies, including Goodwin Procter, STP Investment Services and Altvia. The company also launched its second product: Know-Your-Customer/Anti-Money Laundering.
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: ToxiSense / Vertige / Baleena / HeyKiddo / BLOK / Passthrough / Kith + Kin / Patina / Cayaba Care / Omni / Regression Games / BOSS.Tech / EdLight / Sena Health / LLUNA / CollX / SnapRefund
Series: RealLIST Startups

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