Startups

We’re Looking for 2019’s Startups to Watch

Now’s your chance to nominate the local startups and founders who are bound to shake up Philly’s innovation scene in the new year.


Philly’s 2018 Startups to Watch. Photos by Claudia Gavin.

It’s the last day of 2018, and BizPhilly is looking back on what’s been a big year for the startups recognized on our annual Startups to Watch list.

This year’s cohort included a small but mighty team that’s working to revolutionize the way we receive internet — they’re making things much easier, cheaper and human. Another team on the list is funneling support to the country’s often underfunded youth sports teams through a seamless, easy-to-use digital marketplace. Meanwhile, another startup we recognized in 2018 is addressing a big pain point for tech companies and entire tech ecosystems: talent. The company’s founder has assembled a team that’s dedicated to connecting underserved local tech talent — those traditionally overlooked by the industry — to training and jobs.

In addition, the startups on Philly Mag’s inaugural Startups to Watch list, released at the start of 2017, continued to make waves in 2018. In November, Stitch was acquired by California cloud data integrator Talend for $60 million. The company plans to stay put in Philly and grow. Lia Diagnostics added $2.6 million in venture capital to its portfolio when a new investor joined its team of backers this year. The official launch of the company’s flushable pregnancy test is pending.

We’re now on the hunt for 2019’s Startups to Watch. This year, amidst a very public national location search, Philadelphia’s startup community was scrutinized by outsiders who wanted to know if the scene — and city overall — were good enough. We were told our tech economy wasn’t up to par, while others recognized the city as one of the country’s top ten rising cities for startups and as one of the country’s top 50 places to start a business. We also looked inward to determine where we should go from here, using 2018’s lessons as a springboard.

In 2019, BizPhilly will continue to recognize the early-stage companies that call Philadelphia home, the young companies working diligently on a product or service that’s innovative and needed. As in previous years, we’re seeking nominations here for the companies we’re all excited to watch grow and change the city and beyond, for the better. In addition, we’re looking to hear about all kinds of founders, those with impactful stories, diverse paths and varied passions. Please share.

Startups must be based in the Philadelphia region. There are no other guidelines for entry, though preference will be given to startups that are scalable and beyond the ideas phase.

Please check out all of our previous Startups to Watch coverage then nominate a startup here by Friday, January 11, 2019 when the survey will close. Send questions to BizPhilly editor Fabiola Cineas at fcineas@phillymag.com.