Icelandic health tech sets up base in Dublin as it prepares for growth
Kara Connect has appointed Irishman John McElligott as its new COO.
An Icelandic health tech start-up is targeting growth in Ireland and plans to create up to 100 new jobs.
Kara Connect is a wellness platform that allows employees to access coaching, counseling, therapy and other services from accredited providers. Employers subscribe to the platform and choose the number of sessions they will offer staff, then workers can book their own appointments online or in person.
The start-up, founded in 2015, raised $6.3 million earlier this year, led by a venture capital fund from Kvika Asset Management.
He said at the time that more than 200,000 people in Iceland and Ireland had already gotten help through the Kara platform, and the new funding would be used to support further growth in Europe.
Kara Connect has appointed Irishman John McElligott as COO. He will lead the company’s new Irish operation which aims to target the UK and Ireland, followed by the wider European market.
McElligott, who previously held positions at eBay, Flutter Entertainment and Smartbox, has been a non-executive director of Kara Connect for nearly two years.
“In the past, employee wellness was about providing the same experience for everyone, like free food, ping-pong tables and wellness talks,” he said.
“Today, we find that employees are increasingly looking for support to address specific but varying concerns. Kara Connect enables employers to provide wellness services tailored to individual employee needs in complete confidentiality.
Kara Connect plans to create up to 100 new jobs in Ireland. It has already started recruiting and will create positions in sales, marketing, customer service and finance.
“Dublin is recognized worldwide as a destination for top talent and as a global technology hub, making it the ideal location to establish our European sales and marketing hub,” said Thorbjorg Helga Vigfusdottir, Founder and CEO of Kara Connect.
“Ireland will form our base of operations to expand into the UK and beyond over the next few years.”
According to Business post, Kara Connect’s The Dublin base will be at the Guinness Enterprise Center in Freedoms. McElligott told the publication that the start-up was looking for a location with a large labor pool, multilingual staff and a “thriving health technology cluster.”
As the company plans to expand into the UK and Ireland, it has recruited health and wellness practitioners, including nutritionists, psychologists, career coaches and financial advisers, to provide services to employees.
He is already working with clients such as Reykjavik Power, Samkaup and Reykjavik University.
Update, 11:10 a.m., October 10, 2022: This article has been updated with additional information from Kara Connect.
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