HERMITAGE, Pa. – OhanaLink Technologies’ CEO Kara Wasser admits she’s a visual person, quick to display the company’s app projected on a screen. Soon, she’ll share her vision with a national audience, not just in a conference room in Hermitage, Pa.
The OhanaLink mobile app connects families and patients throughout health care events or episodes. Introduced by the company in August, the app will soon have a national sales launch, says Wasser. A $100,000 loan from the Shenango Valley Enterprise Zone Corp., announced Feb. 3, is spurring the debut.
The name OhanaLink comes from an effort to brand a word for family. The word “ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian. “Ohana just seemed very warm and inviting and that’s what we want to create,” says Wasser.
Her idea spawned into something tangible in 2017 after she missed the birth of her niece a year earlier. Wasser vowed not to let other families fall to the same predicament. She became obsessed with the problem, fixating on the disconnection between loved ones and health-related events.
The OhanaLink app includes OhanaLink Baby, OhanaLink Health Kids and OhanaLink Health. Additionally, the tech company, in partnership with Reynolds Services Inc., Greenville, Pa., has launched an employer-sponsored subscription product, OhanaLink at Work, to help keep employees and their families connected during health care episodes.
“We are happy to offer OhanaLink at Work as an added benefit for our employees,” says John R. Frangakis, chairman and CEO of Reynolds Serv-ices Inc.
OhanaLink Baby, OhanaLink Health and OhanaLink Health Kids keeps patients, families and friends interconnected. Users can store background information on the patient, so everyone is receiving the same, accurate, updated information through secure measures, not a social media forum such as Facebook.
Patients can provide their location and any other information, such as allergies and a planner to keep family members updated on any help with obligations the patient might need.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners supported Wasser’s business plan as she built the company. And in January 2019, Wasser left her full-time job as a real estate lender.
The technology-based economic development agency taught Wasser her invention wasn’t just an app, but a business that could create jobs, she says. And agency personnel showed her how to structure the new business and fund product development.
Brian Slawin, director and portfolio manager, says BFTP provided more than $222,000 to her company, including $100,000 in July 2020.
OhanaLink employs nine full time, two part-timers and an intern, but it was just Wasser in January 2020.
This year, she looks to hire 10 to 15, mostly to expand OhanaLink’s salesforce and sales support staff, as well as the technical team.
Pictured: OhanaLink now employs nine and looks to double that number this year. From left are Janet Earle, chief financial officer; Tom McKinley, chief technology officer; Kara Wasser, CEO; and Lisa DiMuccio-Zgela, chief marketing officer.