Q&A with Michelle Kennedy, CEO an co-founder of Peanut

Peanut is the first online community to connect women throughout all stages of motherhood. Whether you’re navigating fertility, pregnancy, motherhood or menopause, the app provides access to a community who are there to listen, share information and offer valuable advice.    

Founder and CEO Michelle Kennedy realised the potential positive impact that technology could have on women’s lives through different applications, and saw the opportunity to create a new networking platform to connect women.

Michelle’s experience working at Badoo and Bumble showed her the success of more fun, playful, and gamified offerings, but she saw there wasn’t anything for those outside the dating pool.

The resultant business was Peanut, an idea that turned into an app with more than three million monthly users – and counting. Peanut’s cloud-based approach has helped the business scale globally and reach users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and most recently, Mexico.

Michelle and Peanut have shown the technology industry how women founded startups are not only changing the technology game, but also how the cloud provides a critical point of difference when it comes to scaling the business.

What was your career journey before Peanut?

Although I started out as a lawyer in mergers and acquisitions, that all changed when I met the founder of Badoo – the parent company of dating and social networking apps including Bumble. At the time, the online dating scene was undergoing a massive transformation to mobile-first which was incredibly exciting and I jumped at the chance to join the team.    

Because I was new to the industry and I was fascinated by it, I had a licence to ask questions, learn, and cultivate the business. It amazed me that over 52 million people were using it at the time. It was fun, playful, gamified, and growing like crazy. It was a completely new world to me.    

During this time, I had my first child and my friends weren’t at the stage in their lives where they were having children yet, and even if some were, they lived far away. I started looking at existing products on the market aimed at mothers and I didn't recognise the tone of voice or the UX/UI. They felt outdated, old-fashioned, and in some cases, patronising. I was still a millennial woman, and yet, all of the products that were available to me didn’t address this. There was Uber for transport, Instagram for photos, but for motherhood there was… nothing.

This was further compounded by the fact that I was working in an industry where it was my day-to-day role to create products that people could use to find connections, yet I felt so lonely. That’s when I decided to take everything I had learned from helping find romantic connections, and apply it to friendship, launching Peanut early 2017 to provide a solution for women looking to connect and find support.

What was the user-experience you were trying to achieve?

Peanut is a story of two parts. Firstly, when you need to find friends and support, when you need to feel less isolated, or when you’re processing life changes, Peanut will help you find connections.

Secondly, having personal conversations in a safe space is hugely important. The conversations happening on our platform today are not happening elsewhere because our users trust the space we provide, and that’s rooted in the technology and the business model we’ve created.

How has Peanut grown?

Peanut now has a growing community of over 3M women who use the platform monthly.     Women make up 50 per cent of the world’s population. They make key decisions on household spending worth trillions of pounds: they deserve a safe, dedicated space to find friendship and support. That ambition meant it was so important we embraced the right technology roadmap. By using cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), we knew we’d be able to scale quickly and easily, without requiring new architecture of server work, simply replicating the same architecture across markets.

As a growing startup, what were the technology must-haves?

For Peanut, I asked myself how we can take everything we know about dating and use that as a stepping stone to build something much bigger for women. So, I created a social network focused on collaboration, care, and play.

We wanted to challenge the norms, to be disruptive, which meant we needed a technology partner that fundamentally understood, encouraged, and enabled that approach. We receive a huge volume of user-generated content, with women sharing pictures and videos every day. AWS hosts almost all of Peanut’s technology infrastructure, including application programming interface (API) servers and user data – a huge amount of data to keep secure. We chose to work with AWS because of its strong track record of reliability for core services. AWS’s network security was also an important factor for us.

What does the future hold for Peanut?

We want to continue to grow, scale, and deepen our offering. The further our reach, the more women we can help – but it all has to be done with care. We get to make the rules for the Peanut community, and our rules are different. We’ve created a space where women can bare all and be their most vulnerable – so, we do not allow misinformation or hate of any kind. We describe our platform as anti-hate by design. That means any new feature is constantly tested, with us thinking, ‘how might this be discriminatory, how is it accessible?’ and we apply this ethos right from the start of the process.

Whatever I do, my children copy. I know parents around the world can relate to that. That’s why we want to build a legacy that we can be proud of, and they can be proud of too.

Startup Details

Startup Details



Peanut is a safe space for women to meet and find support. We created Peanut with the idea that no one should have to navigate womanhood alone. Especially the hard parts. Our mission is to provide a social network for women to connect across fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause. So far, over 3.5M women use Peanut monthly to build friendships, find support, and learn from one another.

  • Headquarters Regions
    London, UK
  • Founded Date
  • Founders
    Michelle Kennedy
  • Operating Status
  • Number of Employees