Dave Dworschak, Co-founder of Kamana, on Eliminating Repetitive Paperwork for Staffing Agencies and Travel Nurses

Tired of spending tons of time doing repetitive work on your credentialing process? Learn how you can manage your process more efficiently from Dave Dworschak, co-founder of Kamana

David Folwell: Hello, everyone. Thank you, again, for joining us at The Staffing Show. Super excited today to be joined by Dave Dworschak of Kamana. Dave, thanks so much for joining us today. Why don’t you just start off with a little introduction about who you are and what you’re up to these days?

Dave Dworschak: Yeah, sure. It’s great to be on The Staffing Show podcast. David, I appreciate you having me on. Hey, everyone, I’m Dave Dworschak. I’m one of three co-founders at Kamana. We’re a healthcare staffing software company, strictly in the healthcare staffing space. We build software for healthcare professionals to store, track, manage, and share their credentials, and really navigate their career, particularly through the travel nursing and travel healthcare staffing space more efficiently.

And then for the folks who employ those travel healthcare professionals, staffing agencies, to really work with the healthcare professionals and deal with the process of the credentialing, onboarding, recruiting, really building a platform that is a collaborative ecosystem for healthcare professionals and staffing agencies to work from end to end of the process.

Folwell: I know we met a few years back, I think at TravCon. That’s the first time we met in person, and I remember you kind of talked about the early days about the problem you’re solving, which is pretty cool. For the listeners that aren’t familiar with Kamana, my understanding, you can tell me how close I am on this, but you guys are really saving both the agency and travelers a ton of time from reducing repetitive work by easing the pain on that credentialing process. How did you come up with the concept? Where did you figure out that there’s this problem that needed to be solved?

Dworschak: Yeah, great question, and interesting you bring up TravCon. That was really kind of our coming-out party, TravCon 2019, where we’d been around for a few months, testing the waters, and really came for a big launch. So that was a great time to sync up.

But yeah, for travelers themselves, my co-founder John is a travel nurse. He doesn’t have time to travel nurse anymore, but he was a travel nurse for a long time. He’s also a really good friend of mine from growing up. This was summer of 2018. He was up on a contract in Alaska, and I would tend to go visit him wherever he was staying. I actually stayed up there for a few months. He was going through the process of looking for his next contract, and he was working night shift. But he was just having to wake up almost in the middle of the day, when he was supposed to be sleeping every day, to talk to recruiters and take pictures of various certifications and fill out different job applications.

As I was hanging out there in Alaska and was just seeing him do the same thing every day and dead-end roads to getting his next contract, we started talking about, from the traveler’s perspective, like, “Man, you are doing a lot of the same thing on terrible software platforms. And you’re doing it all day, every day, and it’s not getting you anywhere.”

My first thought was like, “Man, there’s got to be some platform out there that could help you, John. Let’s take a look. Let’s scour the internet. Let’s see a way that you can more efficiently be a travel nurse.” After kind of diving in, we realized that there wasn’t one.

Fast-forward a good way, we started investigating the agency side of the market and realized that John is just one guy, one travel nurse dealing with all this stuff. I’m watching how big of a headache he has. And then we’re thinking about this from the perspective of the staffing agency who’s dealing with the credentialing and the onboarding and the repetitive applications and the paperwork and the validations. They’re doing all this stuff for hundreds or thousands of nurses at once, and they’re managing it all through software that’s super dated, or more commonly, Excel sheets, texting, emails. And just really saw an opportunity here and started solving problems in the market.

Folwell: Amazing. Have you ever calculated how much it saves a traveler? Do you have any idea on how much time it saves them on a yearly basis?

Dworschak: No. The average travel nurse is going to change jobs every three months. Most travel nurses are working at three staffing agencies at any given time, and really, that’s a limitation of, “I only have time to work with three because I’ve got to manually do all these things with everyone every time.” I would say we don’t have hard calculations, but I can say that when folks go in and apply for a job and do the credentialing and onboarding with a staffing firm, or even just to get submitted, it’s usually hours of work. And the way we’ve developed the platform is, it’s a single profile for a nurse, and you can carry that profile with you from agency to agency and really throughout your entire career, even to self-manage your credentials and all of your paperwork.

This digital wallet aspect of Kamana takes that like typically, every three months, you’re going to do three to five hours of work with three to five agencies, and we’re just reducing that down to one time for the rest of your life.

Folwell: That’s amazing. Yeah, I’ve been in that. Started my career in staffing through the travel nursing side at Travelers Haven, and I talked with many travel nurses. It’s such a pain point. I mean, everybody was always furious about now only how clunky the process was, but just the time it takes. It really sounds like you’re solving a meaningful problem.

Until we’ve talked earlier, we’re talking about the benefit from the traveler perspective, where I’m like, “All right. Well, that’s great. You’re going to help them. Obviously, they’re going to want to use this.” But on the actual staffing agency side, I’ve not thought about the fact that once you have this set up, you have a standardized process. People can come and go. It actually creates flexibility and saves them quite a bit of time as well. How are you working with staffing agencies right now? What’s that look like for you guys?

Dworschak: Yeah, for sure. Just timeline perspective, we launched the digital wallet for the nurses first, where they could store, track, manage, and share their credentials. We created this really cool link-sharing process, kind of like you would share a Dropbox link, but it gave the user permissions around how they actually share their stuff and allow them to turn and off access to particular recruiters and particular agencies. Ran that for a few months, which was great in generating interest from agencies because you had nurses out in the market sending this Kamana profile share from their digital wallet.

Rather than receiving a series of 47 texts and emails, everything I need to know about …a nurse just hits my inbox in a second. And then five minutes later, I can submit them to the hospital. And then when it comes time for the onboarding, I’ve already got a lot of the people that I need.

So we really cut our teeth on that side and then brought our first staffing agency onto the platform. We’re looking at about 15, 16 months ago, something like that. And between then and now, we’ve ramped up to about 80 agencies on the platform.

Folwell: That’s amazing. 

Dworschak: Yeah. All healthcare staff. So we’ve kind of kept our niche and really maintained the power of focus of software development and doing it just in the travel nursing and allied space. And yeah, we’re working with agencies from really, really small startup agencies to some really, really big agencies and everything in between. We’ve got folks of all sizes on the platform.

Folwell: I should know this maybe, but do you have an “Apply with Kamana” button that you enable? Is that part of the deal?

Dworschak: It’s interesting. All the agencies that use our platform now, they’re using it as their core applicant tracking system. That process of applying Kamana into other applicant tracking systems is something that we are doing a lot of research and development on our end, where we’ve got this real concept of like LinkedIn.

Folwell: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking about. Yeah.

Dworschak: For agencies, we know, we’re not naive, we’re not going to go out and get every healthcare staffing agency in the industry to use our agency software platform. But we really got into this market to solve problems for the nurse and to stop that duplication and repetition of paperwork. So getting that “Apply with Kamana” experience for any applicant tracking system, various job boards, is something that we’re pretty heavily pursuing.

Even since day one, when you apply to an agency that uses Kamana, it’s got that same feel because it basically gives you two different choices when you go to apply with an agency. You can either click a button that says “Create My Profile,” or you can say, “I have a Kamana profile.” Even though we don’t have these things integrating yet with other applicant tracking platforms and stuff like that, we’ve really been building to that experience since day one.

Folwell: That’s great. I love any product out there that’s focused on the candidate first. I think that’s the route that we all need to be going. It’s like, you make the candidate happy, and everything else will fall in place. So I love that you’re going down that path. One other thing that we briefly discussed, actually, a LinkedIn update, I think, is how I got the news, but I saw that you were recently acquired by Triage. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what’s going on there and what that means for the customers you’re working with?

Dworschak: Yeah, sure. That’s definitely an exciting new development, a new chapter for us at Kamana. Triage Staffing, a pretty big staffing firm. I’m sure a lot of the listeners here are aware of Triage. But if you’re not, they’re a healthcare staffing agency out of Omaha, been around for about 15 years, and have a very awesome operation going on over there. We started talking about Triage really as a customer, or as a hopeful customer. They were really helpful for us and having conversations and just really open to the idea of innovation.

As we were going down this customer path, we started the conversations, and we had like two or three agencies on the platform. We really hadn’t built very much. No way the platform was ready to support an organization of that size. But we just kept in communication with them. Simultaneously, we were going down this tech startup path. We had raised a seed round a little over a year ago. And when it came time to start thinking about additional fundraising, just really engaged them in the process of, what could a possible investment relationship look like?

Ultimately, where we landed was, they know that there’s a lot of innovation that needs to happen in the industry, and they’re working really hard and really aggressively to improve the industry for healthcare staffing, and not just for themselves, but for other agencies and the facilities they work with and for the candidates that they work with. Our vision of where healthcare staffing is in five years is very aligned with their vision of healthcare staffing in five years. And we decided, rather than go at this as separate paths, let’s join together and try to accelerate Kamana’s path to making the Kamana platform the standard of how healthcare staffing operates.

We have officially been acquired by them. We’re still pretty good as a separate company. The way the relationship basically works is, on the day-to-day, they’re a customer and a strategic partner, and they’re opening a lot of doors to information, people, and insights, and financial resources, and everything that you get from work with a great organization that size. But they also, from day one of the conversation, they’re like, “The Kamana solution doesn’t solve the industry problem, and Triage gets to keep it for themself.”

We went into the relationship with, Kamana continues to operate as a separate company, we continue to bring other agency partners onto the platform, and from Triage’s perspective, keeping the Kamana team the Kamana team and keeping that data siloed and making sure that we’re not just protecting the nurses’ privacy and the nurses’ data because that’s such a big part of who we are as Kamana, but also protecting the other agencies that are using Kamana and making sure that they can all use it and feel confident that, while Triage is an owner and a strategic partner and a foundational way of how we’re going to move the product and the platform forward over the next several years, also a very open, collaborative environment that’s going to be maintained to work for really everybody in the industry.

Folwell: That’s amazing. And congrats on that. It seems like a great partnership, and I hear a lot of good things about the people at Triage as well. So it’s exciting times for you.

Dworschak: For sure. We kind of had that decision point, like as a startup, we can go down the venture capital path. We had a lot of interested venture capital investors. When you go down that path as a company, there are pros and cons. And one of the definite cons is, the only focus from the venture capital investors is, “I want 10X my money back.” Ultimately, we didn’t get into this industry to get 10X on money back. We got into this industry to solve problems. And having a strategic partner like Triage, who first and foremost wants to make the industry better, has put us in a really, really good place.

Folwell: That’s amazing. Yeah, having been part of quite a few startups and having one of my own, it’s a tough choice, where you’re like, “All right. We need the capital to grow, but how bad do we need it, and what relationship do we want?” So there’s some good PE and VC money out there, but I’ve watched some people go through some trials and tribulations when going down that path as well. So congrats again.

One thing that you touched on while talking about how you and Triage partnered up through that acquisition is seeing what the future of healthcare staffing looks like. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you see next and where you see things going for the healthcare staffing industry?

Dworschak: Yeah, for sure. The first thing, back to the spirit of traveler first and healthcare professional first, is just the mass duplication of work is, we think is going to go away and we think Kamana is going to be the catalyst to make that go away.

I’m used to doing these things 15, 20 times a year, and I’m manually tracking all my expirations, and I’m texting this here and I’m emailing that there. We see, from that perspective, a lot of the human-powered things that have had to go into the healthcare staffing industry up until this moment, we see a lot of automation coming around that, and not just by centralizing this concept of the Kamana digital wallet, but also by building and continuing to build tools for staffing agencies to automatically process people through the application, and onboarding, and job-matching, and all the things that are being done manually within a staffing agency today that require just so much human power. We see just a lot of automation entering that.

But what we don’t see on the other side is, we don’t think that the people are going to go away. There’s a lot of folks that come into the healthcare staffing industry with this vision of, “Over here in this industry, we made the computers do everything, and there’s not a need for recruiters, and there’s not a need for compliance managers, and there’s not a need for client managers.” We don’t really see the industry that way. It is a very human-centered business and people-driven business.

Let’s say a recruiter can work with 25 people on their desk at any given moment. We see the introduction of technology, like Kamana, coming in and enabling them to, say, work with 50 or 75 or 100 because they’re not having to do all these manual processes that are coming into play. I would say if we talk about where the big goal for the industry is, it’s also really expensive.

I mean, healthcare staffing is really expensive for hospitals. It’s really expensive for the patients at the hospitals they’re serving because this industry is running so archaically. So we see, with the introduction of technology and the elimination of this duplication of data all over the place, the opportunity to ultimately bring the cost down for the healthcare system.

Folwell: Yeah, it’s interesting. I talked to quite a few people in this space. I think there’s a lot of people that are just trying to solve for, how do we get nurses to go from application to on-the-job without a recruiter engagement, if they don’t want to, if that’s the path. I’ve actually done a little bit of research on this back in the day.

But what I’ve come up with, I mean, I think there are segments of nurses who want to maximize their income and who are going to be willing to do as much as the lifting as possible and don’t want to talk to people. And there are others that, I think, are always going to want that travel, I always think of it as like that travel agent, like a recruiter, the recruiter, talent agent kind of component, where it’s like, “Hey, I can call this person if I’m having issues,” all of those things. It’s interesting to think about those different segments.

With that, I know just recently, I think it might have been Executive Forum, on SIA. I saw some information about SnapNurse and their growth. I mean, are they going down that path? What are your thoughts, I guess, around that, that kind of like apply at a place without a recruiter engagement at all?

Dworschak: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s totally possible. I do think, and I guess to go to the other side of my earlier statement of, “The people are never going to go away,” I think, to your point, that’s exactly right, where the people can go away in situations where both parties want the people to go away. You’ve got SnapNurse as an interesting model. We try not to spend too much time looking at the competition, I’ll be honest.

But the way we think of platforms like SnapNurse, they’re doing a lot of amazing things for the industry. There’s a lot of these tech-centered staffing companies that are doing a lot of amazing things for moving the industry in the right direction, which is fantastic. The way we fit into that is, we really see, not every company can go out and raise a bunch of money to go build proprietary software. Not everyone wants to be a staffing company and a software company at the same time.

Folwell: Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. I’ve always been a tech nerd and heavy on the early adoption of tools. But being in the staffing industry now on the supplier side for about 10 years, the transition in just the last five years has been insane. And then I think the pandemic just accelerated that like 2 or 3x’ed that adoption of new technology. With that, are there other kinds of areas that you’re excited about or have even roadmap concepts for Kamana that you see healthcare staffing firms picking up to improve the candidate experience or any technology that you’re just generally excited about?

Dworschak: Yeah, that’s a great question. I feel like I get excited about a new technology every day.

Folwell: My teams literally told me that. My team, at one point, was like, “You cannot add another plug-in into Slack. Prove it for a month before you throw another thing our way.” I’m like, “Oh, let’s try them all out.”

Dworschak: Oh, that’s great. We operate much the same. I think from a roadmap perspective, we really started Kamana around this idea of the candidate experience. I’ll divert on maybe fun fact for a minute is, when we actually started the company, we really intended to go down this path of a job board, and we’re going to do job-matching, and we’re going to help make connections. And the realization that we came to early on was, it doesn’t really matter if we make a connection in five minutes instead of five days because the credentialing still takes three weeks.

So what’s the use of a five-second connection if the next step takes weeks? So we kind of shifted our focus really early on to, “Let’s solve this credentialing and compliance and onboarding problem.” And from a roadmap perspective, we’re now starting to test some of our original concepts with a feature we’ve launched called the Kamana Job Network, where we’ve got tens of thousands of nurses out there using the Kamana digital wallet to manage and store and track and share their credentials.

We’d sell this opportunity particularly with COVID, where there was just this massive need for nurses. We had customers reaching out saying, “Do you have anyone in your network that’s looking for a job?” And we had nurses reaching out saying, “Who’s got the highest contracts?” and, “We’ve got both people on the platform.” So we started to bridge some of those connections.

So from what else are we excited about that we’re going to be bringing into the market is, not only am I managing all of my people and my credentials and my compliance, but I can also start to bridge some of those faster connections, where that’s definitely exciting from a functionality standpoint. And then if we think really big vision, most of the stuff in stealth mode, I can say at a high level, the travel nursing space is just a tipping-off point or jumping-off point for us.

There are nurses and healthcare professionals and staffing companies and healthcare employers all over the country that are dealing with this, not just in the travel space, but in other areas of staffing, and exploring what the “Apply with Kamana” solution looks like, not just for the travel nurse industry, but for the healthcare staffing industry overall, is something that we’re very excited about.

Folwell: That’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, what’s funny is, one of my best friends from kindergarten, he started a company years and years ago. Never went anywhere with it, but it’s called License Buddy. It was for CPAs to manage their license, which, I mean, it was the same concept, but it was like, “Hey, you guys, you’ve got to keep these things up to date. You’ve got to keep all your paperwork in order.” This was a pain for everybody. So I think you’re ancillary to that, but I really like where you’re going with it.

One thing you also mentioned there, well, I think we’re seeing movement in all aspects of staffing on this front, but the concept of the marketplace is something that I feel like I hear three or four times a week. I’m talking to somebody who’s trying to build some form of a marketplace for all of their talent, where their talent can find the jobs, apply, get accepted, and move forward. Any thoughts around what you see, anything exciting on that front, or anything that you guys are able to share with regards to a marketplace concept?

Dworschak: Yeah, sure. I mean, I do think, in healthcare staffing, it’s a little trickier than other areas of staffing or the gig economy just because there’s so much post-submission work that has to go into actually stepping foot into a hospital. So I’ll say that the traditional marketplace angle kind of being the end-all solution for healthcare staffing, we just don’t see it. We do see opportunity, and we’re pursuing an opportunity for building marketplaces into the tools and systems that people are using to manage their staff and manage their compliance and manage their credentialing.

That’s kind of the hybrid approach that we’re kind of doubled-down on here with Kamana is, the marketplace concept in healthcare staffing is great, but I do think it’s secondary to all the other work that has to go into not just getting the nurse into the hospital, but to your point, everything’s just expiring all the time, and you’ve got to keep track of all these things and all these people and all these places, making sure that, first and foremost, stays at the center, at least in our strong opinion is the important path.

But I do believe in the power of technology to digitize the way people find work. And if we think about the future of how a nurse is going to navigate their career five years from now, I’m sure it’s going to look very different. I think the marketplace concept and probably a number of marketplaces are really going to end up at the front of the pack and are going to be used for the long term.

Folwell: Yeah, it’s interesting that, before this, I came from the travel industry. I was CMO at a company called Hotel Engine. And when I looked at that market, and then I look at what happened in the travel industry over the last 40 years and then apply that, it feels like it’s similar to what’s happening in staffing in some ways, where you used to have all these travel agencies, and now you’ve got the ability with KAYAK, and you can book through all of the different platforms. It feels like there’s quite a few people moving in that direction. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out and what that really means for staffing and staffing agencies as a whole.

One other thing that you and I just briefly talked about earlier, but I think it’s pretty cool, and I’m going to be jumping back a little bit more to specific on your products. How many travelers have had computers, or where are they applying and how are they applying? I don’t remember the exact number, but you mentioned something about the mobile stats on mobile usage. And I think that’s just interesting for people that are listening to the podcast, so if you want to dig into that a little bit.

Dworschak: Yeah. Sure, man. When we got into Kamana, one of the main pain points that John, my co-founder, and I realized is, he’s having to do all these things from a laptop while he’s supposed to be asleep because he’s working night shift. The reason he’s doing that is because it’s like, it seems like every piece of software in the healthcare staffing industry just doesn’t work on your phone. So from day one, that’s been a huge focus of ours, make sure that we’re designing and developing everything mobile-first, where it works just as well on your iPhone 4 as it does on your MacBook as it does on your Android as it does on your Windows tablet. So we really designed this as a mobile-responsive app.

To get to your question about the data, now, having all these users and activity on our platform every day, we’re seeing about 85% of our users on the healthcare professionals side are coming in through a mobile device 100% of the time, which tells us that they probably don’t even have a laptop, much less want to use it. So that’s definitely been a big attractant, particularly in our early days of getting the platform into the hands of staffing agencies of like, “Look, we’ve looked at your website. I’ve tried it on my phone. It just doesn’t work. You’re losing candidates.” Bringing that candidate portal experience that Kamana offers for staffing agencies with a fully mobile-responsive, mobile-first design has been a huge win.

Secondary to that, even though we see almost the exact opposite on the agency side, where about 80% of agencies use laptops.

Folwell: It’s almost all desktop, yeah.

Dworschak:  We do design everything from the agency perspective mobile-first as well. So just like a nurse can go and do their entire application and onboarding and credentialing and communication and paperwork, they can do all that from their phone, and their recruiters can too. I think that going to be really important, particularly as the world shifts more and more to this permanent concept of remote work. I’d say we’re probably leading the pack in terms of mobile-first or even mobile-capable technology as far as the staffing agency user goes.

Folwell: That’s incredible. I mean, I know so many staffing agencies, as they’re pushing to have a better digital experience with their brand and trying to get their site set up so it’s more mobile-friendly, any tips that you’re willing to share with any of the listeners?

Dworschak: Yeah. Work with an expert. Don’t try to do it yourself. It doesn’t have to be Kamana. I mean, there are tons of great web developers out there. Even for your initial application process, there’s a lot of agencies that still go through the traditional like, “Apply on my website. I take email. I put it in my ATS.” Maybe it gets automatically imported, but those entry points for the nurse are so important.

I think, statistically, if you think about the world of technology, you’ve got less than two seconds or less than one second for somebody to make a decision to go the other way. So when you’ve got a website or a process out there where you’re like, “Hey go here and do this thing in order to work with my company,” and I get there and it doesn’t work and I’m trying to toggle my phone around, and then I’ve got to go get my laptop. One thing that we always say when we’re thinking and designing the platform is, “Our biggest enemy is the back button.” You don’t want someone to land on a page and not know what to do here, so, “I’m out of here.”

My advice is to agencies out there, particularly because most folks, 80%+, are working on their desktop all the time, a lot of people probably don’t even know what their mobile site looks like, take the time to open your phone, go through your own application process on your phone and see what it looks like, and just take a hard look at, is this something that I would want to do if I was applying for a job?

Folwell: Yeah. Actually, to that point, one recommendation I always have is just, “Go apply for a job on your website.” And I think it’s amazing, there’s a lot of executives that they’re like, “Oh, I’ve never … the marketing team handles that.” And it’s like, “You might want to just go experience it and see how you feel about it.” Because there are a lot of bad experiences happening out there. There’s a lot of confusion points.

Or you turn and you get to a spot on a mobile application or a mobile form at any point, if you have a little hiccup, you turn around, you go out, you forget what you’re doing, you don’t finish it. I think there’s a lot of opportunities just from checking in. If you don’t have the experience you want, I’d recommend maybe talk to Kamana.

Dworschak: Sure.

Folwell: Also, what’s next in store for Kamana?

Dworschak: Yeah, for sure. We are still, I’ll say laser-focused on building and releasing and solving problems for healthcare staffing agencies, particularly those that are in the travel nursing and allied space. We’ve got a lot of per diem folks on the platform, but we continue to believe in the power of, let’s not expand into these other areas of the market until we’ve truly solved the problem for these healthcare staffing agencies.

Although we’ve got a really solid and phenomenal customer base and user base, what’s next for us is continuing to talk to them every day about their experience, not just with our platform, but what else are they struggling with, what else sucks about their job, and just having those really real conversations about, “What are your pain points, and how can we solve them in a non-traditional way that isn’t just taking this off of paper and putting it into a piece of software?”

I’d say, a big focus for us is, we’re here in the healthcare staffing space for the foreseeable and going to maintain that really tight focus until it makes sense to say that we’ve checked enough boxes here, we feel comfortable spreading our wings further.

Folwell: That’s great. I think that’s the right strategy and right approach. Switching gears a little bit to some personal just fun questions I like to ask everybody…

Dworschak: I’m not prepared for this.

Folwell: The fire round. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Dworschak: This is a great question. New belief, behavior, or habit? First thing that comes to mind, I would say maybe this is a behavior or a belief, not so much a habit, but I would say as I got into the software world, I really had to learn that you’ve got to talk to a lot of people, and a lot of conversations maybe early on might feel like a waste of time.

But I think mentally, really early on, I made the decision that I’m going to go into every single conversation I have, whether it’s with somebody in the startup ecosystem or with a nurse or with a staffing agency or with somebody who totally, fundamentally disagrees with everything that I say going into those conversations with the belief that no conversation is a wasted conversation and there’s always nuggets of information that you can pull out of every single person that you talk to, I’d say is maybe a behavior I’ve adapted that I think has served me personally very well.

Go into every conversation with a positive attitude and leave with a positive attitude, even if they hated every minute of the conversation, has been, I think, a really positive thing for us and for the company as well.

Folwell: I absolutely love that. I think there’s an unbelievable amount of truth in going into something with expectations. It tends to increase the odds of it going the way you want it to. If you’re going in with positive expectations, it’s like, it may not go positive, but it increases the likelihood, for sure. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? It could be an investment of money, time, energy, et cetera.

Dworschak: Interesting question. My mind jumps right to people. I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times, my co-founder, John, who’s also a good friend of mine, him nor I are engineers. And we are co-founders of the company. So really early on, when we started exploring this market, we made the decision to … We’re going into this market to solve really complex problems. We can’t do it without the technology expertise on our team. So we made the dedication really early on to spending once, finding a technical co-founder, and ended up connecting with our third co-founder.

His name’s Kiere. He’s a rock-star software engineer and all-around great human. I think our early choice to say, “Let’s not go take the easy path of outsourcing our first product to a software engineering team overseas and finding someone who not just is great at what they do, but also passionate about the problems that we’re solving.” We took the time to do it. That’s, I would say, the best decision that we’ve ever made, I think, really, personally and as a company.

And then we’ve continued that on as our team has continued to grow, taking the time up front to make sure we’re putting a lot of care into our job postings, and putting a lot of care into our interview process, and really having just very human conversations with the people that we’re going to work with, and then carrying that through to the onboarding flow, and just investing a lot of time with the people that we’re working with, I think has been the best investment that we make and will continue to make as we grow the company.

Folwell: Yeah, I think that’s a great answer. I’m also just curious, I know so many people trying to start a business. Myself, I’ve gone through trying to find a technical co-founder. It can be difficult. How did you do it? Any specifics on where you found him or how you found the right person?

Dworschak: I guess this could go back to another behavior that I’ve adopted. But I would say, not being afraid to ask people for help is what got us to ultimately meeting our engineer and co-founder, where we went down the kind of traditional path of, “Let’s go to some networking events, and let’s put some stuff on the internet, and let’s kind of do that.” But ultimately, we went down this really intense path of asking everybody we know, “Do you know somebody who might know an engineer?”

And then every conversation we had, we left it with, “Well, this isn’t really a good connection. You’re not the type of person who wants to work with us, or maybe we don’t want to work with you.” But leaving every conversation with a, “Who else do you know?” is ultimately what got us to meeting our co-founder.

I don’t know if that helps you. The advice, I guess, I would give there is just, don’t be afraid to tap into your network. 

Folwell: Ask.

Dworschak: The power of your network is probably stronger than you think.

Folwell: That selfish plug, the power of referrals.

Dworschak: Absolutely, Dave.

Folwell: What are bad recommendations that you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Dworschak: Bad recommendations? We touched on this a bit earlier, but I would say, in the software world … We got in, at least, obviously, my co-founder Kiere, he’s been building software a long time, so he’s been down this path, but this is really mine and John’s first path into the software world. And you hear a lot of, I would say, bad advice from people in this startup community of like, “Somebody’s already doing that,” or, “That competitor over there already has this number of millions of dollars. There’s no way you’re going to outbeat them. You don’t have any money.”

Dworschak: I guess where I’m going with that is, the bad advice I hear is when people say, “That’s not going to work because your competitors are already doing that.” I would say the reverse of that. We made a decision pretty early on to, I would say, ignore the competition because we’re not trying to build something similar to what exists in the market because it’s not working. So we’re coming in here and really rethinking the way the market works. I think the good advice from my part on the reverse of that would be to people who are going out and building something, “Be aware of what exists in the market, really important. You have to know what other people are doing. But don’t let it keep you up at night.”

Folwell: I love that as well. Last question on this segment of it, what is an unusual habit or absurd thing that you love?

Dworschak: Ooh, that is a tough one. Unusual habit or an absurd thing that I love? This is going to be weird, but I’ll go for it. On an absurd thing that I love, I would say I actually really like awkward conversations and awkward moments. That sounds really weird, but a lot of awkwardness makes people uncomfortable, and I would say I almost drive in that environment. It’s kind of weird. I don’t love awkward moments, but I would say I don’t have a disdain for them either. That’s the best I’ve got at the moment.

Folwell: All right. Well, that’s not bad for putting you on the spot like that. With that, closing notes, anything else that you’d like to share with the audience? Anything else you’d like to share today?

Dworschak: Yeah. I’d say, thanks, everyone, for making it to listen this far. If you’re a healthcare staffing company out there and you’re dealing with really any area of inefficiency, but particularly around credentialing and onboarding and candidate experience and candidate portals, we’d love to talk to you. Even if you’re vendor-locked-in for the next five years, we’re not trying to sell you. We just want to have a conversation about what the problems are that you’re having so that we can start working on those pain points into our development and design process.

So definitely, feel free to reach out on the healthcare professionals’ side for anyone. Everyone knows a nurse, everyone knows an allied health professional or a therapist or anything on that side. So reach out to those folks and say, “Hey, go check out this thing, Kamana. They can make your career and credential and paperwork management a little bit easier.”

Folwell: Awesome, awesome. I second that. Dave, really nice talking with you today. Appreciate you joining us. I hope you have a good one.

Dworschak: Yeah, I appreciate it, Dave.