Having started a $1 billion health care company, TriZetto, Jeff Margolis, 52, recognized Denver, Colorado-based Welltok as a winner. First he became an investor; then he took over as CEO.

--As told to Coeli Carr

I officially became associated with Welltok, as its chairperson, in August 2010. TriZetto and I put in a million dollars apiece, and other investors supplied the rest. We framed Welltok in a construct we called "a social health management solution," meaning that it wouldn't be just pushing info onto consumers. Through the CaféWell platform, Welltok would be a two-way street, where consumers could respond, participate, and, through gaming technology, create health-related challenges for themselves. And there'd be perks.

In late 2012, though, we were desperate for cash to stay afloat. And I started walking Welltok around to high-level venture capitalists. The only way any of them would give us financing was if I ran the company.

One of the most gratifying things we've done is to become a health care-sector accelerant by bringing on third-party-solutions partners--entrepreneurs in their own right--and connecting them with consumers. We now have about 30 partners with whom we do revenue sharing, and we get more requests to become part of our CaféWell ecosystem than we can take on.