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Minnesota start-up helping families with special needs

Born out of personal passion, two Minnesota sisters create a service to help families find specialized care.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — A Minnesota start-up is having a big impact on families with special needs. Joshin was founded by two sisters who understand just how overwhelming it can be to find specialized care for loved ones. It’s already helping families like the Vandergons. Their oldest, Brea, has Cerebral Palsy.

“She's really smart, she's an honor roll kid, but she's non-verbal so she talks using this device here that she controls with her eyes,” said her father, Cedar Vandergon.

The couple can't just hire anyone to help out at home, while they are at work, and finding good care is not an easy task.

“I think probably some of the first nannies that we hired, it was like a part time job doing background checks, and you know just replying back and forth with messages and figuring out a time to sit down with them and interview them. It was a huge undertaking," said Julie Vandergon.

Not anymore.

"Joshin is the first digital care resource for families with special needs and specialized care needs,” said Melissa Danielsen.

Twin sisters Melissa Danielsen and Melanie Fountaine started Joshin.
The site helps families find specialized care for every age and ability.
Joshin does all the background checks, so families can just search caregivers, create a plan, manage schedules and even pay. All born out of personal passion.

“We grew up seeing how important quality care was to a family,” said Melissa. “Josh was our big brother and he had special needs, so he had developmental disabilities, a pretty severe epilepsy disorder."

“Our passion is serving a very underrepresented community who are often overlooked even when we're talking about diversity and inclusion,” added Melanie.

Joshin is based here in Minnesota, but they have expanded to several other cities including Chicago, New York, and L-A. They are launching into new markets about every four weeks. They have also started partnering with corporations to offer specialized care as a benefit to employees.

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