Michelle Kennedy


ELLE (UK) - - Play -

For­get twee pas­tel flow­ers and out­dated web fo­rums – with its wel­com­ing ‘Hey Mama’ em­bla­zoned in red block let­ters on a mil­len­nial pink back­ground, Peanut is do­ing for new moth­ers what Tin­der has done for sin­gle­tons. ‘Peanut isn’t about mums, it’s about women,’ says Michelle Kennedy, who was work­ing as deputy CEO of the dat­ing app Badoo be­fore launch­ing Peanut in 2O17. ‘Women are so many dif­fer­ent things – the word “mum” can be so re­duc­tive.’ A friend­ship app link­ing new mums was in­spired by the birth of her son Finn, now four, and that par­tic­u­lar brand of ‘iso­la­tion and lone­li­ness’ new moth­er­hood can bring.

Peanut now has 5OO,OOO users and Kennedy says her own ex­pe­ri­ence high­lights why the tech scene needs di­ver­sity. ‘Dif­fer­ent view­points showcase where the op­por­tu­ni­ties are, whether it’s a prob­lem that you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced di­rectly or just an al­ter­na­tive take on some­thing,’ she says. ‘Look at some­thing like The Modist [the mod­est fash­ion plat­form] – that’s a great ex­am­ple of a dif­fer­ent van­tage point spot­ting a real need.’ At Peanut, she goes out of her way to hire women. ‘If young girls can only be what they can see, then I need to find that fe­male en­gi­neer.’

Her ad­vice to would-be founders is to de­velop a thick skin. ‘There were many knock­backs. Try to un­der­stand ev­ery­thing. Don’t let any­one blind you with science or out-geek you.’

“Don’t let


out-geek you”

Grey, white and blue coat,£699; white shirt, £1O9; and blue jeans, £175, all POLO RALPH LAU­REN.All jew­ellery, Michelle’s ownAnne-Marie, Shar­madean, Louise, Michelle and Tobi are all styled in new-sea­sonPOLO RALPH LAU­REN.HAIR: Mark Fran­come Pain­ter at CLM Hair and Make-upus­ing Davines. MAKE-UP:Anita Keel­ing at One Rep­re­sents us­ing Nars Cos­met­ics. NAILS:Emma Welsh at Frank Agency us­ing Leighton Denny Ex­pertNails. SET DE­SIGN:Rain­bow Calvert English.TAI­LOR: Michael Hunt

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