We chat to Michelle Kennedy founder of Peanut about her new form for mums to connect
Peanut founder Michelle Kennedy with her son Finlay
Aside from joy of raising little people, one of the best bits of motherhood are the friends you make along the way. The mum mates who know how it feels to be up all night with a colicky baby, understand the juggle of the school run and come to the rescue with the last piece of the costume/lost homework/a much need glass of wine.
You’ll laugh with them, cry with them and simply having them around to share the journey makes the crazy, emotional, wonderful experience that is motherhood that bit more fun.
We love anything that helps women to make these incredibly important friendships so when an amazing new app launched last year aimed at doing just that we knew it was going to be a huge success. Hailed as the ‘tinder for mums’, Peanut aims to connect like-minded women online so that they can meet up in the real world.
It’s aimed at women who are expecting up to those with kids aged 16. You simply join, create a profile by entering your info and using the apps badges ('mom boss', 'spiritual gansta', 'fitness fiend' for example) and then the clever algorithms will match you to women with similar interests.
If you think you might get along with a mum, swipe up to give her a ‘wave’. If she ‘waves’ back, she’ll show up on your match list and you’re free to start messaging each other. You can still message someone who didn’t wave back at you, but the message will go to a separate folder.
Women can connect individually or form groups and arrange meetings online that take place in real life.
You can have up to 20 people in the chat and create a poll to arrange meeting times. When you close a poll an event goes straight into your calendar.
Twelve months in and Peanut has 300,000 members who have sent over one million messages and started thousands of new friendships.
This week they have just launched their new ‘Peanut Pages’, the platform’s newest feature that allows users to explore ‘Pages’ (topics) where they can ask and answer questions, share experiences and converse across the network.
It’s a new online forum for mums to chat about everything and anything.
The app is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Michelle Kennedy who played a major role in the success of two dating apps - Bade and Bumble. After having her son Finlay three years ago she struggled to meet other mothers she could relate too and often felt lonely and isolated.
She wanted to meet other like-minded mums but frustratingly couldn’t find any form of social media that helped her to do it and that’s where the idea for Peanut came from.
We caught up with Michelle to chat about the apps amazing success, the launch of Pages and why mum mates are so important.
Q: Tell us more about Peanut and how it works?
A: Peanut is all about connecting like-minded women. Just because you have the same due date as someone and happen to live in the same area, it doesn’t mean that you are going to have anything else in common. When you sign up to Peanut you tell us about yourself and the app uses that information to connect you to other women with similar interests, not just children the same age.
Q: What is ‘Pages’?
A: Mums want to connect and talk about the issues they are facing and the things that interest them. From how to raise boys or navigate the school gates to family-friendly holidays and where to shop for buggies, it’s great to hear other women’s’ thoughts and experiences. They want to be reassured and encouraged and hear ‘it’s OK’ or ‘have you tried this’. A community supporting each other.
And while there will of course be discussions about breastfeeding and birth plans, we know that being a mum is only part of any woman’s life so members can post questions under a range of topics such as ‘Health & Fitness’, ‘Love & Sex’ and ‘Work & Money’, to discuss the pressing issues in the ever changing sphere of motherhood.
Q: What makes Pages different to existing platforms and web forums such as Mumsnet?
A: Mumsnet has done an amazing job of giving women a voice but it launched over 15 years ago and technology has moved on. Pages acts intelligently - utilising smart algorithms to not only show the user what is trending, but to show them content most relevant to who they are as a mother. The more the user engages with the app, the more curated their content will be thus personalising each mother’s experience, as well as acting as a social barometer for trending topics across the community.
Also, crucially, there is an element of accountability that a lot of other platforms don’t offer. You can’t reply to a post anonymously, which will hopefully stop anyone from being mean or spreading hate as they can’t hide behind a username. We are all for debate, but it has to be done in a non-judgemental way.
However if you want to post anonymously – say because you asking about something you find a bit embarrassing – then you can. We call it posting ‘incognito’. This will encourage women to be open and discuss even the most sensitive or personal of subjects.
It has never been more important for women to feel that they have a platform for their voice to be heard. Peanut Pages is a way for us to really facilitate those conversations, for every mama to have a voice, to have support, and to do so in a technologically smart way, mamas deserve that. I am so thrilled that Peanut can be the product to provide this.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about launching Peanut?
A: I love hearing the countless stories of women who have found each other through the app and become good friends. Like the mum who emailed me to say how she’d felt nervous about going to the school gates and found another mum who’s child was also starting the same school. They went in together and felt a lot less anxious about it all.
Some mums have met and started businesses together, others have arranged nanny shares or set up bumps to babies classes. It’s really amazing.
I’ve personally made some great friends with women I would never have met otherwise. I know Peanut is creating lifelong friendships for so many women and that makes me incredibly happy and proud.