The Fund Founder Spotlight: Katherine Wells of Serenity Engage
The Fund is a founder community and early stage fund, by founders for founders.
Welcome to The Founder Spotlight where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at The Fund. This week the spotlight is on Katherine Wells, co-founder and CEO of Serenity Engage, a HIPAA-compliant communication platform for the senior care industry.
Finding a care facility for an aging loved one is a cumbersome and emotional experience. It’s difficult to leave the person you care about in the hands of others and it’s exacerbated when the lines of communication break down and you feel like you have no idea what’s going on with your parent, grandparent, or loved one. It should never take four days of phone tag before you talk to a doctor about an important medication your father is taking! But that’s exactly what happened to Katherine Wells, CEO and co-founder of Serenity Engage. Her experience finding long-term care for her aging parents inspired her to build a HIPAA-compliant messaging app for the senior care industry. The platform enhances staff communication, care provider collaboration, and family engagement. It’s a user friendly app that’s designed for all generations.
Katherine is a former marketing executive with over 20 years of experience leading early-stage companies. Her husband and co-founder, Rob Pinna, is a serial entrepreneur and software developer with over 30 years of product experience. Together they are taking on the senior care industry with a simple messaging app that is solving complex communication problems.
What makes Serenity Engage a “must-have” vs. a “nice to have”?
If you don't have Serenity Engage, you have absolutely no idea what's happening with your loved one. Caregivers will often text family and it's not HIPPA compliant and companies have no idea what they're saying. Recently a caregiver unknowingly pointed a family in a different direction for services than the company offered. As a result, the company just lost revenue and will probably lose the client. This wouldn’t have happened if Serenity Engage was there to provide a better means of communication. That's why it's a “must have.”
How does Serenity Engage inspire "customer love?"
In senior living, after you move Mom and Dad in, you only see the caregivers when you're actually there. You're not allowed to give them monetary gifts. You can bring cookies, but nobody ever remembers to do that. This app is a way for families to show love, appreciation and give visibility to caregivers and other providers.
The other side to all of this is that the business also improves. The productivity of the staff increases tremendously because they’re not fielding phone calls, dealing with angry clients, or having people move out. Things just run so much smoother. Customers save money and get an increase in referrals because of happier families.
Tell me about a recent milestone that Serenity Engage crushed.
We just closed a $1.25M seed round. I'm very proud because we worked very hard for this.
What drives you to go into startup battle every day?
The messages I see on the platform. The impact of simple communication is unbelievable. Connecting people who are unable to be together in person just warms my heart every day.
Is work / life balance a thing in startup land?
No, everyone wants to hear there is, but the reality is there isn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re out of control. It’s ok for your life to be out of balance for periods of time. That’s how I see this. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any benefits either. I love having full flexibility to go on a movie date with one of my kids, or hop on my Peloton when I’m feeling stressed. But in startup world, you can’t be doing this and truly have a work/life balance because you have to be obsessed with your business, clients, and doing the right thing.