All startups are born when an entrepreneur tackles an unmet need, but the most successful ones are born out of a passion and driven by experience to solve a problem in the marketplace. It is that passion for changing the face of communications between long-term care facilities and families that drove co-founders Doug Wilcox and Matt Prasek to leverage their shared experience and create the app How’s Mom by Safekeeping.
Traditionally, it has been difficult for family members to stay apprised of their loved one’s care information without calling a facility directly or visiting regularly. This is a major source of frustration and confusion for families. In addition, facilities lack the bandwidth to stay in contact with all families. How’s Mom by Safekeeping is an app designed to connect family members with their loved one’s medical information. The company partners with two of the largest Electronic Medical Record (EMR) companies in the industry, combining to serve 95% of the market.
Not only does the app ease the frustration and difficulty of gaining access to information surrounding your loved one, but it also serves as an operational efficiency tool for the facility. Providing instant and actionable information to family members is convenient and time-saving for the facility staff.
Rarely is entrepreneurship a straight line but often a winding road. Prior to meeting Matt and learning about his idea for How’s Mom, Doug worked in sales and marketing for fourteen years for several Fortune 500 companies. As luck would have it, living in Zionsville, Doug was introduced to zWORKS at its inception when asked to support it by zWORKS founder and long-time friend, Dan Moyers.
“Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business,” Doug says. “Sometimes it feels like it is you against the world, but being around others in the same position at zWORKS brings a sense of shared community with others that understand the challenges and opportunities.”
Little did Doug know at the time, but joining zWORKS was pivotal in the next phases of his career path. Wanting to make an impact and “see the needle move” in his work, Doug found an opportunity with another zWORKS startup success, 120Water. Having known the Founder and CEO, Megan Glover, Doug joined the team, offering Sales and Marketing support. It wasn’t before long that Doug was faced with his own startup story.
While Doug was visiting his mom in a long-term care facility in Anderson, Indiana, he learned about How’s Mom, which was called Safekeeping at the time. Matt Prasek had developed the idea in college and was conducting a pilot of the app at the long-term care facility Doug’s mom was living in. Matt and Doug connected over the phone and, after several conversations, began working together to build and develop what would become How’s Mom by Safekeeping.
Doug’s experience with 120Water gave him the experience he needed to embark on a startup journey, but it was his involvement with the zWORKS startup community that has undoubtedly driven decisions that led to the growth and success of How’s Mom.
“The resources and community that are available and openly offered by being a part of zWORKS brings startups an opportunity that they can’t get on their own,” says Doug. “Sometimes just running into others who already have experience solving a problem you have is all you need to move forward.”
From the very beginning, Doug and Matt came to zWORKS every day to whiteboard and map out their business plan. The two created the working platform and earned their first paying customer. Safekeeping would go on to win the inaugural zWORKS Pitch Night opening the door to additional connections, investors, and resources. Now, operating out of their own zWORKS office space, Doug collaborates frequently with the zWORKS community. He credits the depth and breadth of the zWORKS community for support and mentorship, especially in the areas that he is less familiar with for guidance.
“Startups don’t have a lot of ancillary resources for office space and conference rooms, so having zWORKS and the space to think, create and meet was a tremendous benefit for How’s Mom,” Doug says. “We now have a dedicated space at zWORKS, but you will often find us in the common areas talking to others and trading advice.”
Unlike most businesses that were rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, How’s Mom had an opportunity in front of them. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the How’s Mom app was a “nice to have” feature. Then overnight, the app became a “need to have” tool. It was more important than ever for long-term care facilities to quickly and effectively communicate with the families of their patients. How’s Mom grew rapidly, conducting 8-10 demos of the app a day. Things have begun to normalize, but the fact remains, family members want to check in and find out “How’s Mom?”
How’s Mom is operational in facilities across 33 states and has thousands of people logging on every day. As vaccinations reach more people and the world continues to shift back to normal, the app is coming out with new functionality that will allow facilities to schedule visitations on the How’s Mom app. This will allow them to ensure safety protocols are met and help ease the transition.
The How’s Mom team is made up of Doug Wilcox and Matt Prasek, along with various contractors. The team is looking to expand with the support of a Sales Professional.
Getting to know Doug on a more personal level…
- Doug has been a cyclist for the last 12 years and has completed a race over 248 miles.
- One day Doug would like to bike through France or another part of Europe.
- His favorite place to travel to is Maui, and used to take trips there twice a year.