Icing on the CAEK | nnbw.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Icing on the CAEK

Sally Roberts
sroberts@nnbw.biz
The women founders of CAEK are welcomed to Reno during a press conference Oct. 29, 2016, in the Eldorado Hotel Casino Resort. From left, are Reno City Councilman David Bobzein, CAEK COO Catherine Ganahl, CEO Anna Drachenbert, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, VP of Marketing & Strategic Planning Elizabeth Green, and VP of Sales & Business Development Katie Lay.
NNBW |

Data breaches plague many companies.

Protecting personal data from both hackers and accidental breaches is particularly problematic in healthcare companies, which can incur hefty fines for violations of privacy under HIPAA regulation.

A new software company moving to Reno is giving small medical businesses a way to manage data that only giant healthcare companies previously enjoyed.

Founded by a team of four women, CAEK, Inc. is creating its own place in the male-dominated industry of software development, and moving to northern Nevada to do it.

While the CAEK founders are excited to see their company grow in Reno, they are also excited to be part of the community.

“We wanted to be in a community where we could be impactful,” said Katie Lay, CAEK co-founder and vice president of sales and business development.

Women own only 2 percent of technology companies, she said.

Lay talked about CAEK (pronounced “cake”) Aug. 29 during a press conference to announce the company’s move, which was hosted by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada at the Eldorado Resort Casino.

“We do feel a sense of responsibility as female technology company owners to show young women and young girls that if you want to be a software developer, if you want to be a coder, if you want to be a CEO you can,” she said.

“There are people who can help you get there who can be supportive and help you find your way,” Lay continued. “If we can do it, anyone can do it. We’re not overly extraordinary as individuals, but what we’ve done together is very extraordinary.”

While introducing CAEK, Gov. Brian Sandoval noted the inspiration of the women.

“As the father of two daughters, I really aspire for them to reach new heights as you have,” Sandoval said, addressing the CAEK founders. “They need people to look up to and women to look up to and people they know can break through and have courage and have the determination to have great success like what’s been done with CAEK.”

CAEK was founded by Lay along with CEO Anna Green, COO Catherine Ganahl, and Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning Elizabeth Green. The first letters of their first names create the name CAEK.

The four worked together at a health records company in Fayetteville, Ark., where they realized that existing software programs to help medical providers meet HIPPAA regulations were targeted to large companies with big budgets.

Yet, small independent doctors and dental offices with fewer than 100 employees make up 96 percent of the healthcare industry, according to statistics provided by CAEK.

Small providers are required to follow the same measures and regulations as major providers. But hefty fines from one mistake can sink a small medical office.

Lay noted a small healthcare office that was fined $650,000 after an iPhone with patient information was stolen.

“If we’re talking about Dr. Smith with six employees, that will put them out of business.”

With their various areas of expertise, the four women realized that together they had the tools to solve the problem.

“It means a lot to us,” Lay said. “It’s not just about starting a business, it’s about solving a problem.”

Drachenbert and Ganahl both have extensive experience in software development. Green’s experience is in executive capacities and strategic planning. Lay has been involved in healthcare sales, public relations and business development.

CAEK began in 2013 years with its flagship product, LayerCompliance, which provides a cost effective solution for healthcare providers and business associates to meet the compliance requirements of the HIPAA Security Rule.

“It’s a very hot topic in the healthcare industry and the software industry because of all the breaches you see on television,” Lay said. “I’m sure everyone here (at the press conference) has had their patient information breached in some way because, unfortunately, that’s what the numbers support.

“So we created a software platform that allows independent providers to meet the federal requirements under HIPPAA while reducing their liability and remaining independent providers.”

LayerCompliance met a huge need. The company began to grow rapidly and the partners realized they needed a more strategic location.

“Technology and investments in northwest Arkansas are not as evolved as other areas of the country,” Lay said in a phone interview with NNBW before the formal announcement of their relocation. “We knew we were going to need access to capital to take giant leaps into the market.”

They looked at both coasts and Texas before settling on Reno.

Reno is in close proximity to West Coast investment hubs like the Bay Area and Los Angeles, but also has a great cost of living, Lay said.

While that and the state incentives to encourage companies to settle in Nevada drew their attention, it was the sense of community that secured the deal, Lay said.

“I’m used to a sense of community where people say hi to each other when they walk down the street, “ she said.

“Reno is one of the most generous gracious and kind communities that we encountered. I’m proud to be part of this community, to be in the heart of downtown.”

CAEK expects to open its new office in October in Arlington Towers at 100 N. Arlington St. Lay has already made the move from Fayetteville to Reno and the other women and their families and a few current employees are expected to move soon.

In the next five years, CAEK expects to hire 150 new employees.

That’s a conservative projection, Lay said. “We really are thinking those numbers will be higher than expected. That’s scary and exciting.”

CAEK is finishing details on an agreement with a distribution partner that will sell the company’s product nationwide. That partnership is expected to result in faster growth; and it’s a contact made in Reno.

“… it’s because of an introduction, a very simple introduction in this community that we now have and are finalizing, a contract with a Fortune 500 distributor that is going to transform our sales revenue for the next few years,” Lay said, adding that they were not free yet to announce the name of the company. “That happened because of a very simple introduction.”