SAN DIEGO – Local health tech startup Welfie – short for “wellness selfie” – is celebrating the milestone win of an Anthem Award, presented by the coveted Webby Awards, the web-oriented awards program often hailed as the Oscars of the internet. The young company promotes health equity by offering digital screening tools to kids, teens and adults to deliver personalized health data snapshots and referrals to health education and social services.
It’s a major boost for the fast-growing team, founded by board-certified physician and CEO Dr. Steven Moyo after seeing too many Black and Immigrant people die from preventable deaths.
“Last year, two patients came to me on the same night,” Dr. Moyo told the Business Journal. “Both of them were in their 50s, both diagnosed just a year before with pancreatic cancer. One of these patients, white, from Central California, was on their fourth round of chemotherapy and second clinical trial in hopes of curing their cancer. The other patient, Black, from the south, had never even received care, and cure wasn’t an option, that window had closed for them,” he shared. “Differences in the healthcare people get based on their race or their education are costing the U.S. $1.43 trillion each year. This is why our mission, which is to create generational health and generational wealth for underserved families, is so important.”
Since launching in 2022, VC-backed Welfie has raised more than $800,000 in dilutive and non-dilutive capital with support from Google for Startups, Visible Hands, Jumpstart Foundry and New School Venture Fund. The company is projected to earn $400,000 in revenue this year – twice as much as last year.
Welfie’s platform features two key products. The HERO Academy is a high school to healthcare pipeline built to address the lack of healthcare workers and the lack of representation in the healthcare workforce. HERO AI is artificial intelligence-powered software to help healthcare providers deliver more equitable care to underserved families.
During the pandemic, Welfie’s school and community health software was used across two countries, five states and six school districts to deliver care to 80,000 students.
“We are launching our youth mental health product and are closing contracts that will bring Welfie to an estimated 26,000 students in Southern California,” Moyo said.
In the next five years, the team hopes to bring its product to more than 10 million families through K-12 school districts and pediatric healthcare providers. It also hopes to help graduate more than 100,000 future healthcare professionals through its HERO Academy.
Dr. Moyo completed his residency training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where he volunteered at the Zeta Healthy Aging Partnership, educating the community about heart health. His medical doctorate is from Michigan State University, where he was accepted into the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved program, delivering health resources to rural, urban and international communities.
“To me, Black History Month is a time to celebrate the innovations and achievements of our people, but it is also about making Black history,” he added. “I challenge your readers, whether they are Black or not, to think about how they can help make Black history — how they can support the futures of Black students, fund black founders, or support Black companies. Most importantly, this, in the midst of the youth mental health crisis where we are seeing a 62% increase in youth suicide, [it] is in Black communities that death by suicide is increasing the most, and the [fastest]. So take this month not only as a month of celebration, but as a call to action to support, and save, young black lives.”
FOUNDER & CEO: Dr. Steven Moyo
HEADQUARTERS: Mission Valley
BUSINESS: health tech
NOTABLE: VC-backed Welfie has raised more than $800,000 in dilutive and non-dilutive capital with support from Google for Startups, Visible Hands, Jumpstart Foundry and New School Venture Fund.