Richmond healthcare hiring software startup acquired by staffing firm

Triage, a Nebraska-based staffing company that places traveling medical workers in facilities across the U.S., recently acquired Richmond-based Kamana, a developer of software designed to facilitate medical worker staffing. (Screenshot)

Just two years after its launch and with its services in demand due to the pandemic, a local startup has found a suitor by way of Nebraska.

Kamana, which developed software intended to make hiring and training healthcare workers more efficient for staffing companies and medical facilities, was acquired by Omaha-based Triage in a deal announced last week.

Triage is a staffing company that places traveling medical workers in facilities across the United States. It said it plans to plug Kamana’s software into its system with a goal of allowing healthcare users to be able to build their professional profiles with credential and licensing information and apply for jobs on its site.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Triage didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Kamana co-founder and President Dave Dworschak said the two companies got acquainted when Kamana went through local startup accelerator Lighthouse Labs in 2019. One of Kamana’s mentors made the introduction, and Triage was an early booster of Kamana’s work. Kamana founders had visited Triage to get a closer look at how a staffing company ticks.

“We weren’t trying to sell anything to Triage at the time because we really didn’t have a product yet,” Dworschak said. “They graciously had us come out to their office a few times. They said ‘Hey, come in and sit behind our employees and ask questions and learn the industry.’”

Founded in 2019 by Dworschak, John Modica and Kiere El-Shafie, Kamana’s main product is an encrypted digital space for healthcare professionals to keep their credentialing and licensing information, work history and medical history.

The software also serves the training and compliance needs of healthcare staffing agencies and makes it easier for workers’ credential information to be easily shared with multiple hospitals and recruiters in a single spot.

Kamana makes its revenue from staffing agencies paying a monthly fee to use the site, while healthcare professionals can use the system for free.

The pandemic proved to be an opportunity for the young company, as it embarked on an ad-hoc matchmaking service for nurses looking to get into overworked hospitals. Dworschak said the pandemic prompted many staffing agencies to contract with Kamana to better streamline their processes. The company had six customers in March 2020, and is now up to 80 customers.  There are 25,000 medical workers who use its platform.

Dworschak said Kamana and Triage started conversations last year about how to make Triage a customer of Kamana, and those conversations shifted to financials and then shifted to an acquisition.

“We’re working toward the same things and a partnership makes sense,” Dworschak said. “The staffing scene is antiquated and a lot of staffing companies don’t have an appetite for innovation and Triage is the exact opposite of that.”

Those conversations came as Kamana was close to using up the last of a $500,000 capital pool it had raised at the beginning of 2020. The company weighed whether to launch another round to maintain its momentum or find a benefactor, ultimately opting for the latter.

Kamana will continue to operate as a distinct brand within Triage and serve other staffing agencies, as well as facilities and medical workers who don’t use Triage. Kamana’s co-founders are expected to stay at the company’s helm. The company has space at Startup Virginia and has 10 employees.

The Richmond startup scene has been busy of late, with several companies completing capital raises and at least one other local healthcare tech startup being acquired.

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