On the heels of the passage of Pennsylvania’s Act 152
, Joanne Lang, founder and CEO of AboutOne
, is leading the way for local B-corporations. The company, which developed an app that simplifies access to an individual’s health records and other vital documents, has reached over 100,000 caregivers and is now tackling a brand new challenge—the Department of Human Services.
The Communication Station
is AboutOne’s co-brand for guardians of foster children. Nationally, there are over 600,000 children in foster care. Because most of these children change families multiple times, tracking health, education and even personal memories is a challenge. The Communication Station will provide a private place for those files and motivate foster parents to store important documents with gift vouchers. The platform is particularly enticing for state governments—they are now federally mandated to furnish medical data for foster children when they turn 18.
"We can save [social services] months of time and money meeting their legal requirements by providing that information for them," says Lang. "We have to take small steps and get this version working. In the longer term, we can use it to grow the company because we will have a proven solution to sell to states and cities all over the USA."
The new brand has received an endorsement from Mayor Nutter and DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose. The Child Welfare League of America
is already organizing a consortium of municipal and state clients. Lang expects to pilot The Communication Station for The City of Philadelphia and is reaching out for crowd funding through IndieGoGo
"The Communication Station needs some special features and a special game design," she explains. "We can’t fund this co-brand by ourselves. I had a choice: sit and wait, or do what I do best as an entrepreneur—overcome barriers, think of new and lateral ways to fund this small pilot quickly, and move forward."
Since launching over a year ago, AboutOne has grown their staff by 300 percent and signed with larger caregiving businesses. Lang, who is also a mother of four sons, was recently selected for Dell’s Founders Club. Despite her national ambitions, Lang says she’s determined to stay in Philadelphia, and credits Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia Startup League for helping so many grow their dreams.
"A woman in technology—with children—can grow a startup company here in PA and be successful here in PA," she says. "You don’t need to move to Silicon Valley or anywhere else."
Joanne Lang, AboutOne