Founded in 2008 by NCHS alumni (class of 1996) Aimee Kandrac, WhatFriendsDo is an online platform designed to rally support around people in need especially during a time of illness. It’s like a meal train but way more sophisticated. The online portal allows a patient to connect with friends, family and supporters directly to ask for what’s needed during their difficult time. They can post real-time updates, photos and videos and, most importantly, ask for help. The help can come in the form of meals, cleaning, pet care or even a lift to a doctor’s appointment. All of these requests can be viewed by supporters using an interactive calendar the patient posts. Not only that but a donation feature also allows supporters to donate to medical bills or an Amazon Wish List feature so specific items can be purchased to help. Aimee says her time at NCHS helped her to achieve the distinction in 2015 of being the first female CEO in Indiana to raise $500,000 in venture capital money.
“The rigor of the classes at North Central prepared me for the HARD work of creating and building a company.”
Aimee credits Joan Warrick, her English and Psychology teacher, that provided the foundations, and confidence, to learn the skills needed for building a business, especially one based on human interactions and communication. Her four years on stage in choir and Counterpoints with the famous Ms. Pat Weihe helped her gain the confidence to pitch WhatFriendsDo to investors and build a compelling story around the brand. While that hard work paid off, WhatFriendsDo found themselves in a rut after years of slow growth, and it was time to get creative.
That’s when Aimee called on a few friends of her own. It all started with lunch between Aimee and her NCHS classmate and fellow French class student Ade Olonoh. Ade is a local entrepreneur who successfully developed Formstack, a tech firm. He brought in another NCHS classmate and fellow Counterpoints alumni Duane Hunt who had extensive business operations experience, and Aimee hired him as COO at WhatFriendsDo to bring new life into the business.
“A large school like NCHS provides the opportunity to meet and become friends with so many different groups of people. All of those groups of people want to support their friends in times of need and learning how to navigate so many groups and bringing them together is the essence of WhatFriendsDo.”
Recently, WhatFriendsDo added a video feature that allows a person isolated to video chat with supporters or post a live video message from isolation. This innovative feature proved to be fortuitous as the world shutdown due to COVID-19. The increase in isolation protocols for not just hospitalized people, but also elderly or at-risk populations, meant rapid growth for the WhatFriendsDo platform. They’ve made the best of a bad situation and will end 2020 more profitable than ever.
Aimee, like everyone else, is juggling working from home and her two NCHS kids, Claire Yockey, 12th grade and Elliott Yockey, 10th grade. She’s actually been grateful for the slower pace of life to focus more on the business.
“Spring homeschool and lockdown proved to be extremely helpful. I was able to put in all of the extra hours without having to juggle transporting kids to and from activities or missing events. We also got to spend extra time together. I’m pretty lucky right now that my kids are so self-sufficient and don’t require a lot of help. We all head to our computers with headphones and get to work.”