eqtventures
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On EQT Ventures’ investment in Peanut, connecting women at similar stages in life

Here’s a trick to understanding the DNA of a company: visit their offices. That might not be possible in the current environment, but it can reveal a lot about a company. Let me show you what I mean…

Enter Office

Beautifully crafted, homely and safe, with shades of pink and red on the walls and a very comfortable couch — every element has been meticulously thought out and placed with love and care here. The doorless meeting area evokes a feeling of radical transparency; a place where people do not hide, where open discussion and “zero filter” is encouraged, and where there’s a true freedom to share authentically.

Can you start to see the picture I’m painting?

Now meet Peanut

Peanut is an inclusive social network for women to discuss fertility and motherhood, acting as an emotional companion throughout women’s journeys. Starting with the goal of helping moms meet other moms, Peanut then grew to offer women the opportunity to connect with others going through similar life experiences: to chat, join groups and communities, and come together with other women like them. No judgment, no filters. Just a place where they can be their true selves without worrying about appearances.

The content on the platform is user-generated, transient and conversational, leading to some of the most impressive user engagement metrics we’ve seen across this category. In a highly fragmented space, packed with outdated solutions and poor UI (relics of the turn of the century), Peanut is a breath of fresh air. It’s a forward-thinking solution catered to the mobile generation, promoting empowerment and empathy, and opposed to “mom-shaming”.

And then meet Michelle

From her time acting as a Deputy CEO of Badoo, and as a founding member of Bumble, Michelle has domain expertise in social discovery. She’s intellectually honest and her passion is contagious. Her strategic approach shines through. She thinks and talks from a top-down perspective, but can go into the smallest details when relevant. She shows complete trust in her team and follows her gut and pattern matching skills. All characteristics of a seasoned executive.

When Lyle and I talked at length about Peanut — how to make sure users feel safe enough to share their most vulnerable feelings, how to grow engagement without showing content that just reinforces a users’ existing beliefs — it struck us she had poured her heart and soul into building this community. There’s an intricate level of care and thought in every part of it.

Just as offices are a reflection of the companies they house, companies are, in turn, a reflection of the people who lead them.

This feeling was reinforced when we met the wider Peanut team in Grenoble, in the shadow of the Alps. The engineering team is remote, so they organise monthly team offsite gatherings to brainstorm and run workshops. Whilst Michelle muses about innovative new ways to combine IRL and URL communities, JL, Peanut’s CTO, complements her with highly structured and analytical thoughts. Their commitment to the vision was shared collectively, across the team, from the product designer to the iOS developer.

Enter EQT Ventures

Having gone through this mini-tour behind the scenes at Peanut, we couldn’t be more excited to now be part of their journey, and are thrilled to be leading the company’s latest investment round.

When we look ahead at what the future holds for Peanut, this is really just the beginning. We can think of dozens of other “life milestones” outside of motherhood where Peanut will inevitably be a big hit and become part of women’s daily lives. Opening up the app to women who are “trying to conceive”, for example, has proven what a greenfield opportunity it is to offer a product addressing emotional support and mental wellness around specific topics.

Especially in a time like this — a period of physical distancing — strong social bonds are more important than ever. With the major online platforms being unbundled, vertical social networks like Peanut can help communities thrive, enabling the necessary social support for womanhood in the 21st Century.

Bonus: Meet Mathilda

Lyle, our London-based Partner, and Mathilda

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