HomeFundingSwedish startup gofrendly bags over €1.17 million to help women build meaningful...

Swedish startup gofrendly bags over €1.17 million to help women build meaningful friendships

Female-focused friendship app, gofrendly, has just secured an additional €1.17 million ($1.25 million) to expand to the UK. The Swedish-born app is helping women build quality platonic relationships, creating a community based on female empowerment and connection. 

For many women, building meaningful friendships is a critical part of having a healthy life. Friendships are an important part of positive mental wellbeing, and it’s been shown that strong female communities empower women to feel better about themselves, expand their horizons, and become more successful in their careers.

Founded in 2015 by Ulrika Lilja and Claudia Gård, who themselves met on a ‘friendship date’, gofrendly aims to help women find like-minded friends. The Swedish startup has now secured a new investment as the team set their sights on UK expansion.

Funding details

  • €1.17 million ($1.25 million) was raised in a round led by JNE Invest
  • The company has now raised about €3.7 million ($4 million)
  • Also backed by Curitas Ventures

Ulrika Lilja, Co-founder and CEO of gofrendly: “gofrendly is for those with a shared drive to make new connections, create more experiences, and have more memories with friends. We allow users to focus on the joy of making new friends, rather than the effort of finding them. We couldn’t be more excited about our plans to further develop and expand the app beyond Sweden, starting with the UK.”

Stockholm-born gofrendly was created to help women develop real connections and experience friendships. gofrendly’s technology, data and large community is designed to allow its users to find good matches and build platonic relationships that are likely to work.

Friendships and community-building apps are booming. It’s reported that we are living through a loneliness epidemic, and more than ever before, people are turning to tech to find meaningful relationships and connections. And it’s no longer just about finding a new love match. Especially for women, often having to juggle stressful careers, complicated relationships, and demanding home lives, finding friendships can become a pillar of support that they need to thrive.

A study by global information analytics company Elsevier found that women involved in female-based friendships release calming hormones that help to negate the impacts of stress, and a UCLA report found that women are inclined to befriend one another in times of trouble and distress, while men are more likely to exhibit a fight-or-flight response.

However, for many women, finding friendships and communities can be tough – due to these competing pressures and different practical and emotional hurdles. A recent YouGov survey found that 52% of women in the UK find it difficult to make new friends. Additionally, a survey commissioned by The Wall Street Journal found that a third of 16-24-year-old women in the United States had used dating apps to find platonic friends, rather than for romantic relationships.

gofrendly was built to help address this need. The platform leverages AI technology top match women based on their common interests and lived experiences, such as moving to a new city, wanting to find fellow female entrepreneurs, becoming a new mother, and finding people to try out hobbies or sports with.

Since launching, gofrendly has so far onboarded almost 250k Nordic-based female users, including 65% of all 20-35-year-old women in Stockholm, who are using the app to forge meaningful friendships and arrange meet-ups. To date, the app has so far generated nearly 11 million direct messages, 4,600 coffee dates, 2,537 friend groups, and 70 trips away.

The app also has functions that allow users to host and join events and groups, enabling them to further expand their friendship circle with like-minded individuals.

Now, with this new funding, the startup wants to expand to the UK, meeting an underserved market of millions of women.

Niklas Norén, Partner at JNE Invest: “We are huge believers in the gofrendly mission and in the road that lies ahead. The app has a proven track record of helping women find and foster important relationships that have led them to try new hobbies, start businesses, and expand their social horizons. In a post-pandemic world, the appetite for friendship apps is soaring, and we believe that gofrendly will be at the forefront of future social-tech growth.”

Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.
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