Peanut, an app that started as a tool for discovering new mom pals, has progressed into a social media now used by 1.6 million ladies to discuss a series of subjects, from pregnancy and being a parent to marriage and menopause, and whatever in between. On the heels of considerable growth in online networking sustained by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is today announcing the close of a $12 million Series A round of financing, led by EQT Ventures, a multi-stage VC company that purchases business across Europe and the U.S. Index Ventures and Female Creators Fund also got involved, bringing Peanut’s total raise to date to $21.8 million.

The round itself closed just weeks ago– reaching a time when the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the startup world, frequently drying up venture capital for emerging companies. Some start-ups, as a result, have laid off staff members to self-sustain, while others have looked for exits and even folded.

Peanut, on the other hand, has seen fast growth for its platform as ladies tried to find an encouraging online environment to discuss their own concerns over how COVID-19 was affecting their lives.

Many ladies participating in Peanut’s more recent” Trying to Conceive”group, for instance, fretted about their canceled IVF rounds and how to plan for the future. Present moms-to-be wanted to hear from others about how COVID-19 would impact their hospital shipment plans. And others stuck operating at house with kids searched for guidance and coping strategies.

Because the outbreak, Peanut has actually seen engagement across its app increase by 30 % and content usage boost by 40 %. Its total community likewise grew from 1 million

users in December 2019 to now 1.6 million, as of April. “We’re actually fortunate in that we’re growing which we are, for the most part, untouched by what’s occurring,” says Peanut creator and CEO Michelle Kennedy. “And actually, if anybody required community more, it’s now,” she included.

The pandemic has sent out the app’s usage skyrocketing, it has also adjusted Peanut’s top priorities with regard to its roadmap.

Most notably, its friend-finding function needs a rethink.

Peanut initially worked as a sort of “Tinder for mom buddies “– a concept that arose from Kennedy’s individual experience with how difficult it was to forge female relationships after motherhood. As the previous deputy CEO at dating app Badoo and an inaugural board member at Bumble, she brought her extensive experience in matchmaking apps to Peanut, which utilizes a comparable swipe-based system.

COVID-19 has actually up-ended this side of Peanut’s company. Today, Peanut users are satisfying in Zoom chatroom to hangout or play video games, however not face to face.

Kennedy states the business will attempt to fulfill these users where they are with the development of more video networking features, possibly with technology built in-house. Other plans for the new capital consist of improvements to the social discovery elements of its app, the advancement of a web version of Peanut, and the development of more groups beyond those concentrated on fertility and motherhood, which have actually so far been core to the Peanut experience.

Particularly, the business quickly plans to launch a new community concentrated on females living with menopause, an experience that will reach more than a billion women by 2025. Despite the reality that all females with ovaries will go through menopause, there are relatively couple of online communities devoted to it– which Peanut views as an untapped market. Peanut’s real strength, nevertheless, is not in the kinds of neighborhoods it grows on its platform, however how they’re produced.

There has not yet been a social network that focused on “developing a platform for ladies, thinking of ladies’s needs and developed by a ladies,” explains Kennedy. “So what we wind up doing is using things that currently exist– trying to twist them and mold them into what we require, and never ever getting it precisely right,” she says. “We can do better than that.”

One small example of this is the recent launch of Peanut’s “Mute Keywords” feature that permits women to remove certain kinds of discussions from their feeds and alerts. Some women utilized this to produce a coronavirus-free news feed that focused on other aspects of motherhood. Others who were attempting to conceive muted discussions around “pregnancy,” which they found emotionally setting off.

With the Series A’s close, Peanut states Naza Metghalchi from EQT Ventures signs up with the business’s majority-female board, along with Hannah Seal from existing investor Index Ventures.

“Peanut’s user engagement metrics are a testament to the app’s ability to act as a true emotional buddy throughout females’s journeys,” stated Naza Metghalchi, venture lead and investment advisor at EQT Ventures, in a declaration. “The EQT Ventures team is delighted to partner with Michelle and continue to grow Peanut into a platform that serves all women at various life turning points, checking out subjects beyond fertility and motherhood which have actually already seen such huge traction.”

The extra financing permits London-based Peanut to expand its business and hire more engineers to join its current group of simply 16.

“I think having closed a round in this climate is excellent for the group,” states Kennedy. “It’s likewise excellent for the neighborhood due to the fact that it implies that we can grow the group, construct quicker, develop faster and establish the product quicker,” she adds.

Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.