A social network for mums called Peanut has launched a new community on its app for women who are trying to get pregnant.
“Trying to Conceive” (TTC) is designed to enable hopeful mothers to connect with people in a similar situation from the moment they start to consider motherhood.
Built by Deliveroo cofounder Greg Orlowski and ex-Badoo exec Michelle Kennedy, Peanut announced TTC on Thursday alongside a new funding round of $5m (€4.5m) led by early Facebook investor Index Ventures. The money will be used to hire more people and improve the app further.
Previous investors in Peanut include Ashton Kutcher's venture capital fund Sound Ventures, as well as Female Founders Fund and Felix Capital. Total funding in Peanut now stands at $9.8m (€8.9m).
The app is free to download and use so the company does not make any money; however, Kennedy told Sifted that Peanut will look at introducing a freemium model that would see some users pay for additional features in the future.
There are hundreds of millions of mums in the world but Peanut has convinced just 1m to sign up to its platform since launching three years ago.
Asked if she was satisfied with Peanut's growth to date Kennedy said Peanut has focused on “controlled” growth since inception.
“We're data obsessives, continually refining the product based on data to ensure we have best-in-class engagement and retention metrics,” she said. “Now we see that we have those we’re starting to allow acceleration and 20% month-over-month growth is something we're very satisfied with.”
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An element of privacy?
Peanut wants women to feel like they can speak freely and openly when using the app. It hopes that women who join the TTC community will candidly chat about personal matters like assisted fertility journeys, alternatives to pregnancy and loss.
As part of an effort to make women feel more comfortable, Peanut has made the app strictly women only.
It tries to keep men off the platform by getting people to sign up with their Facebook profile, which usually includes their gender.
But a quick Sifted experiment shows that it's possible for a man to bypass this barrier if they temporarily swap their gender on their Facebook profile.
When asked about this Kennedy said: “We do some visible and some behind the scenes work including selfie verification. We also rely on our community to inform us.”
According to the NHS, one in seven couples in the UK have difficulties conceiving.
“We want to shine a light on an often silent struggle,” said Kennedy in a statement. “What has always been Peanut's point of difference is enabling conversations women feel unable to have on any other platform.
“Providing a safe, inclusive space for women to discuss fertility is a natural progression for our brand as we continue to support women throughout each life stage. No woman should ever feel lonely, isolated or muted on such an important issue.”