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Google Maps co-founder backs The Joy Club in £1.1M round to help retirees tackle loneliness

The Joy Club
Image credits: The Joy Club

The Joy Club, UK’s community-based platform designed to help retirees tackle loneliness, announced that it has secured £1.1M in pre-seed funding round.

The capital was provided by Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen, alongside Calm/Storm Ventures, Alma Angels, and other notable angel investors. Elvie founder duo Tania Boler and Alexander Asseily have also backed the startup.

How will the funding be used?

The funding will enable The Joy Club to build out its community features to support member engagement and make it easier for users to make online and offline connections.

The company plans to utilise the capital to scale the community, helping tackle loneliness and ensuring more people can enjoy a joyful retirement. 

According to the company, over 100 retirees played a role in designing the platform. 

What does The Joy Club solve?

Loneliness is experienced by 1.4M older adults in the UK – a figure set to reach 2M by 2025 – and 40% of retirees consider the television to be their main companion. 

According to Office for National Statistics, the UK has around 9M retirees who use the internet, representing a growing market opportunity for tech-enabled solutions catering to this demographic. Also, 90% of people aged 65-74 are now regular internet users. 

Founder CEO of The Joy Club, Hannah Thomson says, “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. We’re thrilled that this esteemed group of investors shares our excitement for the space and is backing The Joy Club as we work to grow our community and help even more retirees live joyfully.”

Here’s where The Joy Club comes into play!

Mission to end loneliness

Hannah Thomson founded The Joy Club, inspired by her grandmother, Jean. During her retirement, Jean went solo backpacking around New Zealand, learned to paint, volunteered in Bulgaria, and even married her high school sweetheart.

Thomson, says, “My Granny Jean found retirement to be the most joyful and socially connected time of her life, but few are as lucky. Stopping work can be a cliff edge for many people; your routines are stripped away and lots struggle with recalibrating their identity, despite having lots of living left to do. That’s what The Joy Club is here to solve. We want to create the community, inspiration, and opportunity people need to thrive in later life.” 

Hannah, part of the pre-launch team at femtech Elvie, decided to design a platform that would create a community for retirees based on shared experiences. 

The Joy Club offers this community access to over 50 events per month for a £5 monthly subscription fee. It includes art classes, dance lessons, live music events, talks and lectures, fitness sessions, creative writing workshops, and more. 

Members can also access a private community area, where they can foster friendships and receive daily content and articles. 

The Joy Club team, having launched the platform in beta in December 2020, used the last year to gain an in-depth understanding of what this demographic wants from a community – conducting research and development with over 5,000 members. 

Tania Boler, Founder, and CEO of Elvie and Chair of The Joy Club says, “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 has been overlooked for far too long. The Joy Club is perfectly poised to give this demographic what they want, need, and deserve.” 

Lucanus Polagnoli, co-founder and managing partner at Calm/Storm Ventures says, “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. That’s why we’re backing Hannah on her journey to make retirement better for a growing but underserved customer base. We believe there’s a huge market potential for an agetech brand that doesn’t speak down to or infantilise its audience but is making the most of their digital skills and spending power.”

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