Peanut, a social media app for women, initially found traction to connect women in the early stages of their motherhood journey. But over the years, the network expanded to support women in other stages of life. Now, that will also include menopause, a stage of life that will affect nearly half of the world’s population at some point, but where there are few online opportunities where women can connect and learn.
“We’ve been thinking about this stage of life for a long time, in terms of how neglected it is,” explains Peanut Founder and CEO Michelle Kennedy. “By 2025, there will be one billion women who are in menopause at that time … and yet when you think about what is and is accessible in community terms, [networking]and support, there is literally nothing, ”he says.
The company saw opportunity in this market by looking at what the women were already discussing on the app, Kennedy says.
Although the app had historically leaned towards younger women just starting marriage and family, there were several women who had undergone surgical or chemically induced menopause due to something like breast cancer or some other medical condition. This had led to early or premature menopause, and they began to discuss how that was affecting their life, particularly as younger parents. There were also women who felt they may have started experiencing menopause, but their doctors were dismissing their concerns because they were too young. They wanted to talk about their symptoms with other people who were going through the same thing. Others, meanwhile, were older and entering menopause, looking for community.
To address this market, Peanut is expanding with the launch of Peanut Menopause, a dedicated space in the app where women can meet others who are in a similar life stage, whether they are other premenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal women.
Women can join groups, ask questions and get advice, or even join in live audio conversations hosted by experts, through Peanut’s newest feature of live audio rooms, peanut pods. And they can use the app’s matchmaking feature to discover other women who also belong to their same demographic, where they can chat via messages or videos.
Kennedy notes that the topic of menopause is something that women have historically kept quiet, often suffering in silence due to the lack of resources available to them when it comes to online networks and support groups.
“Men are never going to build this for us, so we have to do it ourselves,” he says. “We have to build what we want and what we need.”
Expansion may bring a larger group of women to Peanut. Today, the average age of the peanut user is around 32 years old, but communities focused on menopause can attract women in the demographic of 49 years and older, in addition to those who are going through the experience to a younger age, for other reasons.
Unfortunately for Peanut, not all investors see an opportunity to address the needs of menopausal women. In fact, in a recent phone call, Kennedy said one investor seemed dismayed by the expansion, noting that he had really loved “the youth demo.” Kennedy said this comment left her speechless.
“These are women who are at a stage in their life where they probably have more disposable income,” she said of the new demographic that Peanut now includes. “They are more considerate users, in many respects. They are not so frivolous. They don’t have 30 apps on their phone, and the ones they have on their phone are really compromised. I’m surprised that someone in the investment community makes a comment like that, ”he adds.
Peanut is not yet monetizing its users and does not intend to do so through ads. Instead, the company’s plan is to introduce the freemium model in which women will pay to unlock a set of premium features, a model that worked well on the dating app. industry, where Kennedy has his roots as a former deputy CEO at the dating app Badoo and a member of the inaugural Bumble board.
The feature is the latest in a long line of expansions over the years, including Q&A Forums, Peanut Pages, Peanut groups, and recently, Peanut pods – who have helped Peanut evolve into an online community serving more than 2 million users. The Peanut app is available as a free download on iOS and Android, while its communities are previewed. available on the web.