Teenagers have TikTok, adolescents Tinder, or Instagram, - so what do moms have?Up until recently - absolutely nothing. For the longest time, the tech industry oversaw motherhood as a relevant-enough concept and discarded the exclusion of many mothers online.
A new parent herself, ex-lawyer Michelle Kennedy didn’t have anyone to turn to when learning the hacks of motherhood. Annoyed by the lack of resources online, she created a society-oriented platform targeting mothers in need for emotional support and aid.
Think of Peanut like any other app - but intended for mothers. On it, moms can discuss their new experiences and exchange feedback. The main initiative of Peanut is to raise awareness and break the vicious cycle of taboos mothers face. From difficulties in conceiving to postnatal depression and blues - the platform enforces mutual help in setting new and existing mothers on the right path!
Here’s how Michelle’s Peanut grew big enough to lend a helping hand to struggling mothers worldwide!
Life under the British Celeste
Michelle was born and raised in London, England. The environment she grew up in was one of strict work ethics, where education was respected as religion. In other words, hard work and straight A’s were the utmost commandments to obey.
Though negative for some, this kind of environment made the biggest and most favorable impact on Michelle. In fact, the strict regimen she grew into helped her learn how to dodge procrastination as well as failures. Throughout the years, everything Michelle did came with a pre-calculated risk. Then one day, a monumental change came along and forced Michelle out of her no-risk zone - and into a world of opportunities.
A Girl with a Lady Boss Blood
Having a shining resume from high school, Michelle secured herself a spot among the eager lawyers early on. Thanks to her spotless working ethic, she passed the bar in record time and began working as a lawyer in the international law firm Mishcon de Reva. As strict discipline never bothered her, she was assigned clients who recognized her abilities and even asked her to be their in-house counsel.
One day, one of the partners in the company called Michelle and told her about Andrey Andreev – the founder of Badoo, a killer company based on an online dating app. Online dating was not a thing like it is today, so Michelle was initially reluctant to meet or work with him. Yet, deep down, he was dead-curios to learn what the app did and how it worked, hence she agreed to meet up with Andrey after all.
They met at a restaurant and discussed business ideas over London’s delicious pasta. That very night marked the beginning of their friendship and Michelle’s escape from fear. She initially joined Badoo as in-house legal counsel and worked herself up to becoming a Deputy CEO alongside Andrey.
Working with Andrey was a liberating experience for Michelle. The app progressed just great and any risks were diminished from the start. This project led her to immerse herself deeper into tech, and come out sharper in skills and richer in knowledge.
The Perks and Downfalls of Motherhood
While Michelle was working at Badoo, she became a mother. Being a new mother is a blessing and an adventure, but rarely ever anyone speaks of its downfalls and troubles. Being homebound, consumed by the baby world and nothing more, drove Michelle into excruciating isolation.
She realized that the life of a woman is completely different before she is a mother and after she becomes one. Tech products for girls and women existed at the time, but none were specifically meant for mothers. This awareness made Michelle even lonelier and unable to find a respective community to share her troubles and experiences with.
After becoming fed up with her own stagnation, Michelle decided to fix the problem with her own solution. Already briefed on dating apps and startups, she started to research the market for competition, investors, and performance. The idea that resulted from Michelle’s research was to create a mom-only app, where you can chat with other moms, and even meet them over a cup of coffee. Mothers deserved to be seen, Michelle thought, and that’s what her platform would ultimately enable them to do.
To get started on her project, Michelle had to give up her job at Badoo. Reborn as her own businesswoman, Michelle got to work and put everything she had into Peanut.
‘The Last Thing My Wife Needs is Another Social’
When Michelle left her former job to start her own company, she was completely terrified and didn’t know what to expect. Her first business challenges came at the very beginning when she had to land a decent investor. The main struggle was convincing investors of the realities of lonely mothers, given most of them were males. One day, Michelle was getting ready to attend yet another all-male investor. Although she came prepared as ever, the investors didn't consider Michelle's idea a profitable investment.
One of them even told her, ’The last thing my wife needs is another social network.’
Another immediately chimed in, ‘Don’t women always find a way to meet other moms?’
Relating the idea with the investors’ inability to understand the loneliness that comes with motherhood felt impossible to Michelle. But, to her, women always sensed the power of other women and really didn't need a male’s input to have each other’s backs.
Interestingly, Michelle found her first investor in the Female Founders Fund. This Venture Company didn't back Michelle because they related as mothers only, but also because Michelle never forgot the independence she took pride in before giving birth.
Around this time, Michelle also met her future co-founder and perfect opposite, Greg Orlowski. Greg was a former executive of Deliveroo, who happened to quit his job around the same time Michelle did. In the name of synergy and convenience, they set up a meeting and realized they made the perfect business match and shared the same vision.
Peanut was officially launched in 2016, scoring 50 users on the very first day and skyrocketing visitations ever since. The press also took note of the platform, and after a story on Peanut came out in Forbes, the number of mothers using the app doubled.
Currently, Peanut counts over 1.6 million users worldwide. The company warmly welcomed Index Ventures and Greycroft as the most recent investors. Over the first round of Series A funding in 2019, the company raised $5 million. The following year, the platform raised a whopping $12 million and earned itself total funding of $17 million.
Michelle’s Happy Ending
The company’s headquarters are currently located in California. Though the platform mainly serves as a channel for new mothers to find their like-minded friends, the company also showed deep interest in expanding its services. Aside from the already showcased, down the line, Peanut plans on immersing itself in refined product development, especially in the area of video integration.
For Michelle, success with purpose doesn’t get any better than Peanut. With 1.6 million loyal followers by her side, Michelle beat the odds of befriending and created a safe haven that every mother gets to enjoy.
There is no doubt that Peanut is here to stay - and serve. Not only did it break the barriers pushing women away, it ultimately opened the gates of newfound socializing, allowing all its members in need of support to meet as mamas, connect as women!