Having a background in tech and dating apps, this seemed like an obvious evolution for the market to Michelle

Having a background in tech and dating apps, this seemed like an obvious evolution for the market to Michelle

In today’s Mom Crush interview, we had a chance to sit down with Michelle Kennedy, the founder of Peanut, the matchmaking app that helps moms connect with other moms.

After becoming a first time mom herself, Michelle saw a need in the market to connect new moms in a modern way. Her goal was to create a platform where moms could easily find other like-minded women to create real-life connections and to bond over their new, monumental life changes. So brought her idea to life and has since been overwhelmed by how quickly Peanut exploded. With over 1MM members in less than two years, clearly she was onto something!

We’re so impressed by your success with Peanut – congrats! In just 2 years over 1 million moms have joined the network, which goes to show how needed this resource was! How did the idea originally come about?

When I first got the idea for Peanut, I had recently become a mum myself and really needed some mum friends. I looked at the tools that were available to me and really felt like they didn’t fit modern motherhood. The tech felt very outdated and the human connection just wasn’t there. Women deserved and needed a new way to form social ties and connections. We never thought it was going to be as successful as it has been, but to me, that just demonstrates the need and shows how overdue a platform like Peanut was.

Your professional and educational background is in law and you ended up landing a role as Deputy CEO with the dating app Badoo. How did your career end up taking a turn to the tech world? How did your combined experience lead you to launch Peanut?

I was doing in-house legal work for a biotech company when I got a tip from a colleague about an opportunity to change directions. I joined the tech world as general counsel, not realizing the journey I was about to begin. A combination of being nosy and wanting to understand the business more meant I eventually rose to deputy CEO.

Clearly moms across the world were in need of a way to meet one another and to share resources. What have you discovered are the main challenges for moms in terms of meeting new friends? How has Peanut resolved these issues?

Motherhood can be incredibly lonely and incredibly scary. Almost every woman I know has had a “what have I done” moment when they’re alone with their baby for the first time. Questions about what’s normal, what’s not, breastfeeding, childcare, mother-in-laws, tummy sleepers, side sleepers, the best diapers for road trips, postpartum sex life, infertility issues, and more pop up all the time. It’s an endless stream of joy, tears, fear, pain, and laughter, and other moms are the only ones who truly know what you’re going through.

With Peanut, we’ve managed to utilize this beautiful, modern technology that affords us the immediate presence of a person, an ear, a digital shoulder to cry on, even at our most isolated. It’s technology at its best, meaning it isn’t meant to replace Isländska vackra kvinnor IRL connections, it’s meant to supplement them. So Peanut is a bridge for moms to connect to other moms.

Everyday we receive emails from women who have met through Peanut telling us about how it’s changed their perspective of motherhood. Whether they’ve met to start a business, to have a playdate, to drink wine, all of it makes me so happy. No woman should have to do this alone. When we hear women forming strong communities on Peanut, and starting their own IRL community groups as a result, using Peanut as their resource and companion for motherhood, those are our most validating moments.

I’d been working in dating for such a long time, so it felt like a natural progression to take what I knew and apply it to a new market, which was certainly ready to be innovated

For you personally, what were the biggest challenges you faced when having a newborn, both personally and professionally? Do you think there are ways we as women can better support one another in our communities?

I have a lot to balance! I’m still adjusting to trying to get back into my work mindset while also thinking about bottles, feeding schedules, sleep schedules, my son’s school, travel for work…it’s just trying to keep another ball (or 10) in the air! I think the most important thing is to keep being positive, and to keep holding up your fellow moms instead of being critical or comparing your own journey to another mom’s. We’ve incorporated this kind of thinking into our Peanut Promise and in an effort to keep the app a safe and positive space, adding warnings and push notifications using machine learning to try and avoid negative comments and language in message boards and groups. If we maintain that kind of positivity online, it will continue into our IRL lives as well.

How has motherhood shaped your view on your career? What would your words of advice be to women who are worried that having kids will disrupt their career?

Dating apps don’t replace actual dating; they’re the bridge

Peanut wouldn’t exist without my son Fin, so in that respect, it’s shaped my career in every way. The worst advice I’ve received on this point was probably: “Just wait, when you have another child, your priorities for work will change”. What does that even mean?! Why should my priorities change? Just horrible piece of “advice” that my husband would never receive! So my advice to other women would be that having kids doesn’t have to disrupt your career at all – it just makes it a different kind of balancing act.

I want my kids to see what success requires – hard work, some failure, and bravery – but I also want them to know that failure is part of a successful journey sometimes. I want them to see the determination and sheer grit you put into your goals actually does pay off.

What are your tips for work / life balance? Are there any routines you have that help you to decompress?

Allow yourself to realize there is not such thing as balance! Some days you will be the best CEO and sometimes the best mom, every once in a blue moon, both. Work will be fine on the days you need mom more and your kids will be fine on the days you need to work more. At the end of the day, nothing beats a moment on the couch with a glass of wine.