The Business of Caring: What Friends Do
Editor’s Note: VisionTech Partners is a co-sponsor of The Innovation Showcase on Thursday, July 9 at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway. Over the next two weeks, we will be profiling some of the start-up companies that have the honor of pitching at the Showcase.
A friend has just given birth. A family member has passed away. A co-worker’s had a car wreck and is laid up in bed. You want to help, but your own busy life doesn’t leave much time to be there for others in a meaningful way.
Aimee Kandrac, an admitted Type A entrepreneur, wife and mother of two, found herself in this situation several years ago when a close family friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. She and her mother pitched in to help, as did others, but found themselves wishing for a better way.
The simple desire for a more focused and informed way to help others led Aimee to found WhatFriendsDo.com, a web-based platform that enables people to organize help with meals, children, pets, and more when friends or family face a life-changing event. Free to users, WhatFriendsDo.com allows people to create a care team, plan and coordinate activities and schedules, identify those with special skills, create a guestbook, provide updates, and post photos.
“We are not changing the need to help, we’re giving people a structure to facilitate the process of caring for friends. It’s simple, but powerful,” Aimee says.
WhatFriendsDo.com has attracted 60,000 users around the world, largely relying on word of mouth and social media buzz to build its user base. Aimee is now in the process of redesigning the website to create a richer, more advanced user experience.
O.K. Sounds good. But investors want to know how does one monetize acts of kindness?
WhatFriendsDo.com is actually a software platform that businesses and organizations can license and offer to others as a service to build their own brand loyalty. The company’s first high-profile client is the Indiana University Health System, which licensed the platform and has rebranded as “The Strength of Friends.” IU Health offers it to families and loved ones of patients to extend care beyond hospital walls and make the transition home easier.
Health systems represent a major licensing market for What Friends Do. Other markets include large corporations’ HR departments, funeral homes, churches and other faith-based groups, hospice organizations, and social groups. Clients can use the WhatFriendsDo.com name or white label the service with a name of their choosing.
Aimee is adding other revenue-generating services to What Friends Do, details that will be shared at The Innovation Showcase, co-sponsored by VisionTech Partners, July 9 at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway. She recently closed her first round of funding, and looks forward to the exposure the Showcase provides.
“If you’re an Indiana start-up company, you need to be at The Innovation Showcase.”