Berkeley entrepreneurs Chloe Alpert, Bhavin Parikh and Jason Haight were announced as recipients of the 2019 Berkeley Visionary Awards, which celebrates Berkeley innovators and their visions for the next generation of Berkeley and Bay Area residents.
Created in 2013, three awards are given in an annual effort to encourage Berkeley’s talent to launch, hire and grow their enterprises. Partnered with the city, UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce works to “celebrate people with the imagination and persistence to innovate.”
“Our small city with approximately 100,000 people has very unique assets that make (Berkeley) a unique place for innovation,” said Kirsten Macdonald, CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.
To be considered for the award, aspiring business leaders must first apply through a nomination form that asks rigorous questions about the company’s and CEO’s connection to the Berkeley community, according to Macdonald. She added that the three awardees chosen consistently tell a unified story about ongoing “innovation with conscience” in the city.
Alpert, who is CEO of Medinas Health — which seeks to reduce healthcare waste through asset management software and through the sale of pre-owned medical equipment to under-resourced communities — stated that she is “very humbled” to receive the award. Alpert added that since starting the company, Medinas has helped save $30 million in hospital funds and is currently in business with hospitals in Ohio and the Netherlands.
“Our business is built on this marriage of Silicon Valley innovator and healthcare innovators. It’s putting these two things together that have helped build this company,” Alpert said. “The fact that I get to be the face of this movement is honorable, but it’s the team that got us here.”
As president of Gig Car Share, Haight said that he is honored to receive the award on behalf of Gig and the A3Ventures team that helped make it a success. According to Haight, Gig Car Share has doubled its “fleet” of gigs in the Bay Area since its launch in April 2017 and has expanded to Alameda, Albany and select San Francisco neighborhoods.
Parikh, CEO and co-founder of Magoosh — an online test prep company that offers study programs for standardized tests like the graduate management admission test, or GMAT — said that he is also honored to receive the “Berkeley-centric” award. According to their fact sheet, Magoosh currently has 33 full-time employees in Berkeley and more than 60 remote tutors and content creators working all over the world.
“Our overarching goal is simple — help individuals overcome the barrier that standardized tests create between wealthy and under-resourced communities,” Parikh said.