What happens when an entrepreneur is inspired by her adventurous granny and her sense of joy in retirement? The result is a startup to tackle the loneliness epidemic amongst older people.
Founded by Hannah Thomson, The Joy Club is a platform for people to try new things and make new friendships in retirement. Launched in December 2020, the startup hosts a wide range of live online events every weekday. The range of activities start from art classes and belly dancing workouts to live music and expert talks.
To grow the model further, the women-led startup has raised £1.1 million in funding. Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen has invested in the round, alongside Calm/Storm Ventures, Alma Angels, and other angel investors. Elvie founder and CEO Tania Boler and Elvie co-founder Alexander Asseily (also founder of Jawbone and vice chairman at Lilium), have also backed the startup.
The UK has around 9 million retirees who use the internet, representing a huge and growing market opportunity for tech-enabled solutions catering to this demographic. 90% people aged 65-74 are now regular internet users.
The pre-seed investment will enable The Joy Club to build out its community features to better support member engagement and make it easier for users to make online and offline connections. The funding will also be used to scale the community to ensure more people can enjoy a joyful retirement.
Hannah Thomson, founder and CEO, The Joy Club said: “The average person will spend one-fifth of their life in retirement and yet 65% of retirees feel ignored by consumer brands. To date, the tech and startup sector in particular has chronically overlooked this big, growing and important section of the market. It’s time to do better and create products specifically designed for this amazing demographic.”
Tania Boler, founder and CEO, Elvie and chair of The Joy Club added: “When I founded Elvie, femtech was a nascent market - now the femtech market is on track to surpass a market value of $48.5 billion by 2025. Hannah and I share the view that agetech is the next big opportunity. Our ageing population is increasingly digitally literate and have been overlooked for far too long.”
Lucanus Polagnoli, co-founder and managing partner, Calm/Storm Ventures, added: “We strongly believe that fostering social connections and being part of a community is a critical factor in living healthier lives. And as our society ages, being able to stay mentally and physically well is becoming more important than ever.”