Forget forums and Facebook groups: This new app lets moms swipe to find friends

Michael Hines

When it comes to finding time to make new friends, mothers have it tougher than most.

Having to balance a career and family doesn’t leave much time for meeting people, especially fellow moms with similar interests. Peanut, a new app for iOS that just launched in Chicago, wants to make that process easier.

Those who’ve used apps like Bumble and Tinder will feel instantly at home on Peanut, and that’s by design.

Before founding Peanut, Michelle Kennedy was the deputy CEO at Badoo, a London-based dating app. She’s also the mother of three-year-old Finlay. For Kennedy, the need for Peanut became apparent after many late nights scrolling through social media feeds. While her friends posted party pictures, she scanned forums looking for advice on child raising and trawled Facebook groups looking for like-minded moms to bond with.

After five years spent working for Badoo, Kennedy found it odd that there wasn’t a similar product built for mothers.

“We are growing up, this generation of women, and we do everything on our phones,” she said. “Yet motherhood arrives and you don’t feel you’ve become less cool or less tech-savvy. And yet the products are different.”

Frustrated that there was an app to connect fishers, but not mothers, Kennedy took action.

A mutual friend put her in touch with Chicagoan Greg Orlowski, the co-founder and former CTO of Deliveroo, a European food delivery service similar to Grubhub. He came aboard as a co-founder and CTO, and the pair began working on the app in September 2016.

Peanut users sign up using Facebook and fill out a brief questionnaire to improve matches. Moms can browse profiles of other local mothers and “wave” at those they like. If another user waves back, a chat is opened. Peanut also offers group chats, complete with polls for setting a time and place for meetups. Once the poll is filled out, the event instantly becomes a calendar invite.

This encourages and facilitates mothers meeting offline, a feature Kennedy said is key.

“It’s not a substitution for people meeting in real life,” she said. “The point is to enhance the chances of you being able to meet someone in real life who you actually have a real connection with.”

Peanut uses machine learning and an algorithm to make better matches. For instance, if you consistently wave at mothers with two-year-olds, your potential matches will reflect that preference.

Kennedy wouldn’t share how many Peanut users there are in Chicago, but the app is making a big promotional push in the city. She said the decision to officially launch in Chicago was based on monitoring organic user growth, driven largely by word of mouth.

“We started with London and New York to see if we got it right,” said Kennedy. “Then we just started to see these pockets of users pop up across the U.S.”

 

Image via Peanut.

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