Mirthy, a community and activities platform for over-60s, has raised an approx. €945K pre-seed investment, a year after launching during the pandemic and racking up over 30,000 users.
The pre-seed round led by Ascension’s Fair By Design fund is more than double their initial target, with participation from Ada Ventures, Redrice Ventures and True.
The startup states that the number of elderly (those aged over 65) is set to rise sharply over the next 30 years; in the OECD member countries, there will be an extra 146 million elderly by 2045 – an increase of 70% on today’s population.
Technology adoption is increasing rapidly among this demographic. According to a Report from Mangrove Capital Partners, almost three quarters (74%) of those aged over 55 in the UK now own a smartphone. Over a third use messaging apps such as WhatsApp and nearly half (43%) use social media services such as Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch with friends and family. Clearly this is not a demographic stuck in the dark ages – it is a generation of people with considerable time and spending power that have the internet at their fingertips and are embracing new technologies. The demographic is fast becoming the single most important market for major consumer technology companies.
COVID has also highlighted the importance of technology in protecting the mental health, happiness and financial wellbeing of older adults.
Founded in 2019, Mirthy are catering to the ‘young old’ – those focused on living life to the fullest at the start of their third age. Mirthy’s platform allows over 60s to host or participate in activities and socialising both online and eventually offline too. Longer term, Mirthys’ goal is to become the go-to platform for all over 60s’ social, physical and financial needs.
Co-Founders Alex Ramamurthy and Dhruv Haria, who set up Mirthy, share a passion for digital approaches to building communities for over-60s. Ramamurthy had been an Age UK volunteer, involved in social startups and was Chief Executive of The Care Workers Charity.
“While dialogue around an ageing population focuses on the growing burden on health services, my experience sees a generation of people with more energy, desire for life and time than ever before,” said co-founder Ramamurthy. “I want Mirthy to join you on this new journey once you are no longer in full time work, introduce you to like-minded people, entertain you, and keep you energised!”
“As my mom and dad approached retirement, I noticed how their wellbeing was being affected by their decreasing social circles and the increasing inactive free time they had alone,” said co-founder Haria. “Having launched several digital startups, I wanted to use technology as a way to find a solution to this issue for my parents and millions of other adults nearing or having passed retirement.”
A recent Mirthy survey showed 81% of users would continue to attend online events and classes after the end of lockdown. This supports Mirthy’s digital-first strategy for activities and community, even after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
With more than double the amount of pre-seed funding they had initially planned to raise, Mirthy’s team intends to ‘step on the gas’ and will need to move quickly to stay ahead of new entrants in this space. For now the focus is on the UK but the team will be looking overseas in the not too distant future to dominate this market globally.
Emma Steele, Investment Director at Ascension commented “we love the team’s vision to leverage tech that promotes social inclusion and opens up the world for people in their 60s, rather than make it smaller. We truly believe the recipe for successful impact investing at scale lies with backing the right founders and mindset. And we are so excited to have found this with Alex & Dhruv.”
Matt Penneycard, Partner at Ada Ventures, said “we are all aging! We also want to make our older years as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Older demographics have been overlooked as modern life (and VC!) has focused more on youth. Ada Ventures has been looking for technology investments that better serve our aging populations for a while. We’re thrilled by the team and the vision at Mirthy and so are proud to invest in this round.”
Tom March, Managing Partner at Redrice Ventures, said “Alex and Dhruv are creating a trusted community for this underserved audience, built around a peer-to-peer (P2P) events platform. This P2P focus shows that they understand viscerally the importance of authentic human connections, and in our opinion, this is unique in the market and the perfect foundation from which to build a culture-defining brand.”