Love For The Mama Chats to Michelle Kennedy aka CEO of Peanut!!!
Well what do we have here??? Only Michelle Kennedy who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Peanut - the exciting new social media app for mothers. If you haven't heard of Peanut, don't worry because you soon will and the love for the new app will spread like peanut butter and jelly. Since the 6th February this year, Peanut has gained over 10K followers! But I want to talk about the woman who is behind the app. I came across Michelle through an article I read on the internet because I wanted to research what it was all about before I downloaded it. I saw this beauty standing against a pink backdrop looking wicked in a red leather skirt and white strappy vest and realised I was looking at the CEO. This mama isn't just beauty guys, she has brains, sass and drive and though I only know her through the realms of Instagram, I can't help but feel that I would love to meet this lady in person one day. So knowing me wanting to know more, I just asked her a few questions and so I give you Michelle...
1. What is your working background? Why did you get into the dating app industry?
I was formerly an M&A lawyer at leading international law firm, Mishcon de Reya. I was working frequently for one particular client (in life sciences) who asked me to go to work for them as their in-house counsel. During my time there, I received a call from one of the partners I used to work for at Mishcon who had a new client, a ‘young guy with a killer business’. That young guy was Andrey Andreev, founder of Badoo. We met, and I started to learn more about the business of (then) online dating. I became Badoo’s in-house legal counsel, setting up the legal function, before moving to acquire other reporting lines in the business (HR, Finance, BI), and most recently becoming Deputy CEO, and working day-to-day with Andrey as his right hand. It was a gradual progression, as I started to understand the business more. I am extremely inquisitive by nature, and I suppose the more questions I asked, the more I understood and wanted to know.
2. How did the idea of Peanut come to you? How did you go about setting it up? Did you know Greg Orlowski before setting up the app?
Peanut was born out of 2 main issues:
The first was the emotional aspect of becoming a mother. My girlfriends weren't at the stage in their lives where they were having children yet, and even if some of my wider friendship group were, we all lived in different parts of the city (and leaving the house to go anywhere further than 10 minutes from home with a newborn felt like a military operation). I suppose what I felt most prominently, which isn't particularly comfortable for a 30-something woman to admit, is that even though I had lots of friends and was successful professionally, I felt quite isolated. This was further compounded by the fact that I was working in an industry (dating), where it was my day-to-day to produce products people could use to find a match, or a date, and I was struggling to find a woman who was like-minded to go for a coffee with.
The second was my frustration with the existing products on the market aimed at mothers. I didn't recognize the tone of voice the products used, or the UX/UI being used. They felt outdated, old fashioned, and in some cases patronizing. To me, I didn't feel like I'd suddenly aged, or become less modern, less cool, just because I'd become a mother, and yet, the products seemed to have that expectation. I found that confusing. I still had an expectation of great user experience, from products like Uber, or Instagram, but I wasn't getting that from the products for mothers that were out there.
I reached out to Greg and asked him for advice on who to work with, he loved the idea, and we decided to do it together!
3. Was it hard to convince people of the idea?
It was never hard to convince mamas who were living the pain point! They were always the people saying YES, why hasn’t this existed before! But yes of course, there were always the voices who told me to stick to dating, or that they didn’t know why mamas would be lonely, because they drink coffee all day-that was incredibly frustrating.
4. Were you nervous about launching? Did you ever expect it to be the success it has become over the last 7 weeks?
NERVOUS!? Understatement! I am nervous every day. I care so deeply about this product, I want mamas to love it, I want them to feel like it helps them, that they’re not on their own. I can only achieve that if I obsess over every piece of feedback, and stay nervous!
5. What do you love hearing about Peanut when women use it?
Any story where women meet and connect I love. It makes the sleepless nights, and the anxiety worthwhile. Whether it’s a story about a trip to the farm, or making a connection for business clients, or even starting their own business having met on Peanut, when it happens, well, the entire office is buzzing-it’s why we do it!
6. What do you love most about being a mother?
Oh I just love this incredible little human who looks at the world through completely fresh, innocent eyes. He makes me laugh every day. I told him I didn’t sleep the other night, because I was thinking about Peanut, his answer was so beautiful, i thought I was going to explode “Peanut is good mama, it’s pink, your favourite colour”. Simple as that. Of course!
7. What is your proudest moment for far with Peanut and what do you hope for Peanut's future?
I am so proud of the big stuff of course, the features on the appstore etc. But when I get an email “My friend told me about Peanut, and I am OBSESSED”, well that’s when I am so proud of the Peanut Team, because they work tirelessly, and they never stop believing, listening and improving to make being a mama a little less lonely.
Michelle has created something amazing here, something that could change the journey of motherhood and begin wonderful friendships. Now go grab a bag of peanuts and get waving!