Swipe right with Momzie to find a new mum friend
This Finnish mobile app does not offer the keys for finding true love, but rather a new kind of potential soul mate: a mum friend.
Whether it is basking in the wonders of a newborn or enduring the demands of the ‘terrible twos’, fellow mums can be invaluable in lending an understanding ear and keeping company at the playground.
Now, finding a mum friend is just a few swipes away. The Momzie mobile app helps to connect mums and mums-to-be with their peers living nearby.
“I have a lot friends with small kids, but I cannot really offer them peer support or tips [since I do not have kids],” says Momzie CEO Hanna Lilja, explaining how she got the idea for the app. “I have seen how important it is for them to have friends who are in a similar situation. You are lucky if you have mum friends in your own circles, but if you do not, they can be hard to find. Or they were until now.”
So, how does the app work?
The easy comparison is to matchmaking service Tinder, but without the cheesy chat up lines and disposable amour. Instead, users flick through profiles of other mums in their area and swipe right if someone feels like friendship material. If both do the same, the two can start chatting in the app and eventually meet up in the real world.
Google to the rescue
Momzie’s approach has already created some passionate fans. The app’s launch in Finland in May last year set mum networks buzzing and today it has thousands of users across the country. Now the startup hopes to recreate the same success in the UK, where Momzie launched in early February.
This represents a big leap from autumn 2015, when Lilja first got the idea. Although Lilja’s background is in the tech industry, the world of mobile app development was completely new to her.
“I basically started by Googling ‘what do I need to do if I want to build an app?’,” she recalls.
But relying on Google did not last long. Lilja found like-minded partners in two of her university friends and a few months later, in October 2015, Momzie the company was born. The team has shown tremendous determination ever since. Esko Oramaa, head of technology, even put the finishing touches to the app the night before launch while at the maternity ward. A considerable feat considering his wife was in the process of going into labour.
“She later sent me her regards that it was a good thing he was not hassling me, but instead had something sensible to do,” Lilja says with a laugh.
Friendships for life
Momzie’s current focus is on introducing new features and building its presence in the UK, but it is also eyeing new markets. The startup already has funding from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, but to support these expansion plans Momzie aims to launch its first funding round later this spring.
While a few services with similar ideas exist, Lilja notes that the other thing they all have in common is that they are all early stage companies. Thus she is confident that Momzie’s model stands out.
“We strongly believe in our approach,” Lilja explains. “You can only make the first move after both parties have indicated they would like to get to know each other. This also means you can use the service without worrying about uncomfortable invites you do not know how to decline.”
But the biggest factor is the user feedback Momzie receives. This ensures that the company is on the right path to bringing mum’s together.
“Our users sometimes send us stories of the friendships they have formed through our app,” Lilja says. “These make my day. What we want is to offer is a service that really helps people.”
Text: Eeva Haaramo