In the News

The latest media on Komae, founded by Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace, and our parent Public Benefit Corporation, Wana Family Network, founded by Erin Beck, Komae’s new CEO.

Expert’s Tips and Tricks on Handling Life as a Single Parent

September 42, 2021 by Hermann Samano

Even though there’s no specific guide to take you through this exciting journey, other parent’s experiences can definitely help expand your parenting toolbox. That’s why we’ve gathered advice from experienced single parents to inspire new ideas.

“At Komae, we are huge fans of the digital care break. When we’re working from home with the kids, still very much the reality for many parents, just thirty minutes of safe, occupied time here and there can make the difference between panic and sanity. How do we get it? A little social screentime. It can be a virtual playdate between the kids, online storytime with Grandma, or imagination games with another volunteer parent. Silly filters are especially mesmerizing, but we also try to set up the webcam on a tabletop with figurines, coloring books, and other interactive opportunities. Not sure who to play with? Your Komae friends and groups are great resources, and you can send your need to as many families in your village as you like, all at once.”

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Shifting Perspective During Covid-19

December 22, 2020 by Alex Bruno

Prior to launching her startup, Erin was the Mission Director for the Dragon Team at Space X. Social entrepreneurship is at the core of Wana’s mission. Erin was inspired to start Wana to provide everyone with access to affordable childcare.

Listen how Erin describes how Wana pivoted its business model to assist the working families on the front lines. Erin also shares how her company’s approach to partnerships and acquisitions are hyper-focused on fit and alignment. If the partnership looks right on paper, what are the metrics? How are the numbers looking?

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Leading Through COVID-19 

August 30, 2020 by Rebecca Bennett

So far we have seen many business go bankrupt and shutdown while others have created new offerings. It’s fascinating to study why some businesses go one way while others go the other. How do you lead through such a devastating time? How do you set that new vision, that new future. And what will that Future of Work be like? 

For this episode I handpicked 4 leaders who have demonstrated great leadership qualities during these uncertain times and have successfully come up with a plan and pivoted their organizations in response. So today you will be hearing from Erin Beck, CEO of Wana Family Networks, Afifa Siqqiqui, CEO of Canadian Payroll Services, Elena Agaragimova, Managing partner of Bessern, as well as Sean Bisceglia, CEO of Curion.

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From Globe-Trotter to Startup Mom with Erin Beck Podcast

August 18, 2020 by Rebecca Bennett

Erin is an exemplary leader and always has great advice to offer to business owners. In particular, she has not only created a very unique business model but has successfully acquired two other companies into her startup in which she demonstrates the importance of collaboration with your competitors. In today’s episode, we explore Erin’s startup story from when she backpacked around the world to founding a startup through motherhood. Erin’s advice is very real, telling it like it is on early challenges such as nearly going broke, fundraising, becoming friends with her competitors, and eventually making a friendly acquisition to keep the industry moving.

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Child care programs in Southwest Colorado adapt to pandemic

July 22, 2020 by Shannon Mullane

Nationally, closures and enrollment declines have strained budgets for child care businesses. Meanwhile, families have struggled to balance work responsibilities and child care needs. In La Plata County, the virus’ impacts have decreased already-limited program capacities, forced program restructuring and left some local businesses worried about their financial futures.

Cafe au Play is also working with Komae, a cooperative child care application, to help parents connect during the pandemic. Tregillus hopes an additional COVID-19 risk-tolerance checklist on the platform can help hesitant parents find others who are taking similar precautions against the coronavirus.

“We’re not here to tell people what to do. We’re just trying to help them find each other and define it for themselves,” Tregillus said.

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‘We’re Here and Ready!’ L.A.’s Wana Family Network Aims to Bring Co-op Childcare Mainstream

May 13, 2020 by Tami Abdollah

For parents who are worried about in-person babysitting, they can arrange for “virtual babysitting” via Komae’s platform.

“Maybe you’re doing charades with your friend’s child on their iPad when their mom needs to take a phone call or just wants to take a shower, but just doesn’t want to leave their three-year-old unsupervised,” said Gabrielle D’Addario, a parent of a 4-year-old preschool boy, Charlie, and 6-year-old kindergarten girl, Gracie.

D’Addario, who’s director of the Silicon Beach Parents Group in Playa Vista, Calif., set up a group of parents on the app last month who could communicate together and share “virtual babysitting” via the app. The app can also be used to create virtual playdates for kids.

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9 startups helping moms get back to work after having kids

May 10, 2020 by Marguerite Ward and Allana Akhtar

Mothers today spend 16 more hours a week performing paid labor than they did 50 years ago, though they spend just as much time with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s, according to the Pew Research Center and The New York Times.

Often, the amount of work childcare takes on top of a paid job, along with stereotypes that it’s a mother’s job to care for children, leaves women with no other option but to quit working. Without guaranteed maternal leave in the US, some 43% of American women with children leave the workforce at some point in their careers.

Business Insider rounded up nine startups helping moms re-enter the workforce, most of them founded by moms themselves.

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Listen Closely, Act Quickly: How Great Women Leaders Support Their Team During Crisis

April 27, 2020 by Lindy Gullett, Ph.D.

This piece introduces seven women leaders, female founders who lead their teams with compassion and strength. Like Ardern, these women all know how to listen with compassion and how to act with strength.

Every organization, every individual has different needs right now. Those needs can even change day-to-day, moment-to-moment.

CEO of Wana Family Network, Erin Beck, says, “Everyone’s journey is extremely personal. That became very clear, very quickly. Each individual’s struggles are extremely unique. Some of it is discomfort with isolation. Some of it is having high energy kids who you can’t distract with an iPad. Or it’s fear for the safety of your family. Each one is different, but the result is this continuous overlay of stress and this continuous stretch of bandwidth. 

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Great Female Founders Act Decisively During Crises

April 21, 2020 by Lindy Gullett, Ph.D.

CEO Erin Beck says, “It was scary going into that because we didn’t know the outcome. We just knew that it was the right thing to do. But in the coming days, a new path became apparent.”

Molly Goodson at The Assembly to Erin Beck at Wana Family Network to Olivia Wong and J Li at Prototype Thinking Labs to Helena Merk at Glimpse, all of these women are prepared. These women are powerful. They are decisive. They are leaders.

They also prove something vital. Now isn’t the time to give up on your business, your employees, your customers, or your ideas. Give yourself space to breathe, to be, to grieve your losses. But also know that this is a time of unparalleled opportunity.

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In midst of pandemic, Komae looks to move forward, offer assistance

April 17, 2020 by Sue Walton

“We honestly believe that doing the right thing and collaborating with the right people is ultimately going to make you the winner in the end. … I think that by doing the right thing and by giving away the points to the families who need it, we build brand loyalty and trust, which is what we’ve always been about.”

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How Erin Beck, founder of Wana, stays sane with her family (in their 1 bdrm apartment)

March 30, 2020

“It’s important to acknowledge that it is completely okay to feel the pain and worry of the tragedies surrounding COVID-19 right alongside the joys of slowing down and spending long, cloistered hours with those closest to you. It was hard to rectify the dichotomies of those feelings at first, but it is simply a reality of the deep repercussions of this situation.

One thing I am loving is watching our toddler just … do her own thing. She loves preschool, and so do we, but having her home all day gives us the really cool opportunity to watch her spend her time. I get to watch this smart and happy kid just be a smart and happy kid, whatever that means to her, and I love it.”

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How Childcare Startups in the U.S. are Helping Families Cope with the COVID-19 Crisis 

March 27, 2020 by Catherine Shu

Beck published a letter on Komae’s site on March 12, hours before Ohio became the first state to close schools, asking families on the app to immediately stop swapping child care.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make as a founder, because as a parent myself, I was painfully aware of how desperate these families would be for both care and companionship,” Beck said. “But ‘adhering to social distance’ was not a given then like it is now; we had the responsibility as a leader of this vast community to be firm with what needed to be done.”

Taking steps like helping parents who work with healthcare organizations find care and launching digital features has allowed Komae to maintain its community, she added. “We knew Komae had the tools to make that happen, so with social distance at our core, we adapted for insulating or digital caresharing.”

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27 Female ‘FamTech’ Founders Come Together To Care For Families During The COVID-19 Crisis

March 17, 2020 by Mary Beth Ferrante

Last year, I joined an incredible collaborative of female founders all changing the ways we support families. Almost the entire group is mothers or caregivers, most of us started our businesses, non-profits, and projects because of the lack of support in our own experiences …

But she didn’t stop there. Henderson reached out to all of the founders across our self-dubbed FamTech collective to find out what all of our businesses together were doing to support families during the COVID-19 crisis.

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7+7 Strategies for Working from Home During COVID-19

March 16, 2020 by Ekua Hagan

… In a pinch, if the kids are just too small to be able to spend time by themselves or if you need a longer uninterrupted stretch than your kids are able to provide, consider creating a babysitting coop with another family—only one, to limit contact and possibility of exposure to COVID-19. Perhaps you have a teenage neighbor that is able to help you a few hours a day, or an adult with a more flexible schedule.

Amy Husted, CMO of Wana family network and co-founder of an app called Komae, had instances just like these in mind. Komae, a babysitting coop app, is designed to connect families looking for occasional babysitting swaps. Pre COVID-19, these swaps were intended to give parents time for date nights and other self-care. The goal is different right now—they are working on helping people find necessary childcare while maintaining social distancing.

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Akron-based Komae babysitting app acquired by California competitor

July 16, 2019 by Megan Becka

AKRON, Ohio – “We are overjoyed that something we thought we had to let go is actually something that is being brought back and brought back stronger than it was before,” Husted said.

“Now, we are building this company in the Midwest and the West Coast, and using the best of what both networks have to offer in order to grow quicker and stronger and better together,” Husted said. “It’s going to make us all the more able to do what we set out to do.”

“It is an exciting and wonderful thing to be a part of a project like this, not just because of the impact you’re making, but because of the people you’re working with,” Beck said. “The Wana team has grown over the last six months with Audrey coming in as an adviser and Amy as CMO. I feel every day I am coming to work because I simply love the people I am working with. When I look at our team now I say this is it, we have everything we need to take this all the way.”

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Making It in San Diego: Mom starts co-op for free babysitting between friends

July 15, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Santee mother Carolan McCollough is hoping to bring babysitting into the 21st century for East County families.

“I was just trying to find cheaper ways to babysit, and my mom told me about a co-op that people did way back when she was a mom,” said McCollough.

McCollough uses the platform Komae to organize the exchange. Two Akron, Ohio moms developed the app after they started an old fashioned co-op with ten friends. After one year, the group had saved $10,000 collectively.

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Komae baby-sitting app saved by its new parent

July 14, 2019 by James Mackinnon

AKRON, OH – “Komae did something very special. They pioneered the idea of taking a traditional baby-sitting co-op and turning it into a modern piece of technology for our modern, on-the-go, socially connected lifestyle,” Beck said.

Wallace said they had been in contact with other companies interested in buying Komae.

But she and Husted said they quickly clicked with Beck, who had contacted them within just a couple of days of the April announcement, and liked her proposal.

Beck said she wanted to show Wallace and Husted she would be a good steward of what they had created. “What do you offer to the people who have blazed the trail? To the people who are the market leaders, and not by a small margin, who were out ahead of all of the rest of us?”

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5 Friday Coffee Meetup Presentations to Watch Right Now

June 25, 2019 by Michael Schaffer

When Friday Coffee Meetup started, we never imagined that the gathering of 12 like-minded professionals would grow to include over 6,000 members. But grow it did. Since its inception, our little group of techies, business folks and innovation pioneers has blossomed into a full-on phenomenon — largely because of the impressive roster of speakers that we’ve hosted over the years.

Aerospace engineer, innovator and “momtrepreneur” Erin Beck started her journey toward founder and CEO of Wana — a family-to-family babysitting startup — as a Mission Director for SpaceX. Erin is a believer in cross-disciplinary learning, and her presentation shares the inspiration she drew working for the “brilliant … singular-visioned” Elon Musk. It offers pragmatic insights on self-presentation, and draws parallels between lessons learned from high-stakes space missions and world travels and the process of starting your own business.

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Pair of future-looking start-ups win Glendale Tech Week’s Pitchfest

September 21, 2018 by Tami Abdollah

Last year, Erin Beck’s Glendale-grown babysitting exchange was crowned runner-up.

While Beck didn’t go home a first-place winner, her then-nascent company Wana Family Networking service now operates in 26 states.

“One of the most remarkable things was I didn’t win, but I still found the city of Glendale to be a great incubator,” said Beck, who hosted this year’s event and helped launch a kid’s edition of the competition that was held Sunday.

Kiana Fong, the 12-year-old winner of Tech Week’s inaugural Kids Startup Showcase, pitched a jewelry shop.

“It was incredible. I think no one in the audience … expected the quality of presentation we were going to see,” Beck said of the eight young finalists’ pitches.

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LA Kids Weekend Events: Sep. 14-16

September 12, 2018

Glendale Tech Week gets powered up by Wana at the Central Library and the young entrepreneurs of Los Angeles are the stars.​ See toddlers through teens show off their tech prowess and business savvy. Sample their products, hear their pitch, and “invest” in your favorites. Everyone goes home a winner, and someone goes home The Winner. Bring the whole family for kids-in-tech fun throughout the Library, including STEAM games in the Children’s Room, MakerSpace workshops, robot demos from Rolling Robots, and Collab&Play’s Tiny Tots corner.

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Interview with Erin Beck on How to Adventure Travel the Right Way

September 9, 2018 by Diana Bocca

Erin Beck and her husband recently returned from a 15-month backpacking trip over five continents. Before embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, the couple left their full-time jobs as SpaceX engineers.

During their time abroad, they worked as scuba diving engineers studying climate change in the Mediterranean, summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, rock-climbed the cliffs of Southern France, rode motorbikes through rice paddy fields while teaching English in Indonesia, and got quite stuck in the mud in the Australian Outback.

Now that they’re back, Erin is busy working on her startup (she’s the CEO of Wana, which helps connect parents who want to trade babysitting) while her husband is pursuing acting – and all while starting a family.

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Working Mothers are the Backbone of the U.S. Economy

August 8, 2018 by Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Beck agrees, adding that as Wana Family Network grows, she expects to shift from part-time, non-exclusive contractors to also staffing full-time, dedicated employees. But her previously-mentioned commitment to flexibility is the same, including remote work, job-sharing, a child-friendly workplace and subsidized on-site childcare.

“This is the growing expectation of the modern worker, and a company must either adopt the policies and technology to make it happen or be surpassed for talent by the companies that do,” she says. “Because I mean, really, if I’m going to choose to spend time away from my family, it had better be for something really important. And if I’m going to be away, I’m not going to let a moment of that go in vain, so you’re getting me at 200 percent.”

Which in effect sounds like the makings of every boss’s dream employee. Working mothers just have to be given the chance to prove it.

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Why Didn’t I Think Of That? Idea to Implementation for Moms

June 12, 2018

Sunit interviews the founders of Komae- a childcare app that has filled a gap that seemed to exist in the world of babysitters and nanny services. The idea is genius, and will have you thinking, “why didn’t I think of that?”. But more importantly, Amy and Audrey answer Sunit’s questions about how they got started, and what has helped them go from being simply having a lightbulb moment to actually turning it into a thriving business. They share wisdom that will inspire any mom thinking of taking an idea and turning it into something more. Listen in as they share their story and practical tips!

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Babysitting app Komae, based in Akron, puts tech spin to sharing child care 

February 6, 2018

It’s expensive and time-consuming to find a babysitter for date night. So mom-entrepreneurs Audrey Wallace and Amy Husted created a business to fix that.

Their website and free app, Komae, manages a babysitting co-op among friends. Moms earn points when they watch other people’s kids, then use those points to get babysitting for date nights or other appointments. No money ever changes hands…

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Finding You Time As A Busy Parent With the Founders of Komae

January 29, 2018

In today’s episode your host Megan Hall interviews Amy Husted & Audrey Wallace the founders of Komae.

Komae was born out of Audrey & Amy’s real life struggle as moms to find affordable, trustworthy, convenient, and guilt-free care for their families. To solve their own problem, they built the first sharing economy for child care. In Greek, Komae means Village. For parents, it means free time…

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Akron-based, female-owned Komae completes fundraising round

December 14, 2017

An Akron-based, self-described “female-founded tech startup” company says it has secured $500,000 in a “pre-seed investment round.”

It did it by turning to female investors in the area — 20 of whom ponied up the cash to back Komae Inc., which aims to develop new software for the sharing economy…

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Ohio moms develop Komae babysitting app

June 27, 2017

They say it takes a village to raise a child. A new app is using that idea to help parents create a network of reliable babysitters. Audrey Wallace and Amy Husted, co-founders of the Komae app, stopped by to show us how it works.

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Komae interview on News 5 Cleveland

June 22, 2017

News 5 Cleveland anchor Terrence Lee visited Komae co-founders Audrey and Amy and talked to Tara Deetscreek, artist and Komae Mom, who shared how having a Village in the Komae app allows her to have more date nights and work on her art while her 5 year old plays with friends.

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Babysitting for free without guilt? Here’s a new app to help busy parents

June 20, 2017

To use the app, you create your own “village,” or network of moms that only you invite or accept (kind of like Friends on Facebook). We talked to the creator and a local mom who uses it. Kristen Cash has the comfort of knowing her trusted friend is watching her kids, for free, with no mom guilt. “Nobody feels like they’re being taken advantage of because everybody is earning and spending the same,” said Cash.

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A Mamapreneur Solution to Every Mom’s Problem

February 20, 2017

Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace are the co-founders of the childcare app Komae, pronounced co-may. I loved chatting with these two, not only because these are two truly brilliant business moms, but also because I can’t wait to get my own network of friends on board with their product! You’ll absolutely love hearing from them.

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‘FREE’ babysitting? 2 Akron moms have an App for that.

January 10, 2017

Husted and Wallace saw a niche, SAW THE POSSIBLE, and made it happen. “Parents are literally saying I need this yesterday! How can I get this in my life? So we thought there needs to be an app for this and we developed it into Komae,” says Wallace. The 2 self-proclaimed “mom-prenneurs” say it’s basically babysitting bartering, exchanging points instead of cash.

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Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace: Millennial Entrepreneurship

December 9, 2016

On this episode of the podcast, Husted and Wallace explore the strengths they bring to the table as Millennials, explain how Komae works and share advice for turning an idea into an enterprise.

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Komae on WTVQ Lexington, KY

October 5, 2015

Komae Co-Founders, Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace, talk Komae during their Kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2015.

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