Panion has successfully built a social app that connects people through common interests. It is our mission to solve the loneliness epidemic by connecting like-minded people. We are now using our experience in connecting individuals to build Panion Communities, a community-building platform that supports organizations in facilitating social interactions amongst their members. It’s the virtual water cooler, the digital coffee corner, that allows for meaningful informal interactions and moments of togetherness that build trust and engagement, especially in times of “social distancing”.
As a B2C tool, we acquired 100,000 users within less than a year from releasing our version 1.0 of the app. Over the past year we have seen as many as 1000 downloads per day and 30k monthly active users. In our main market, Sweden, our retention rate over the past 6 months is at 27% at month 1 and at 16% after month 2, well above the average for comparable types of apps.
We developed the concept for Panion Communities, planning to include the following features:
- Spontaneous gatherings and organized events for community activities
- A threaded community post board
- A dashboard for data and trends to measure interaction and activity participation
- Segmented messaging based on interests and location
We already have 2 clients willing to pay for the new Panion Communities, as many of their employees are working remotely and lack a social interaction tool. We have a number of leads for additional clients we will be pursuing in the coming weeks.
Problem or Opportunity
The Covid-19 crisis will make some lasting changes on our economy and our behaviors. This period of uncertainty has led to new habits and regulations that will have a long-term impact on how we work, socialize, and manage our well-being and free time.
A major decline in the economy and potential recession could lead to and increase in remote work at large organizations.
Distance learning will drastically affect the social experience of being a student.
Work and private life become more integrated through remote work. At the same time, the loss of informal social interactions at work and the need for additional social support during times of crisis could lead to major mental health challenges for remote workers.
More anxiety, loneliness and depression lead to a rise in demand for online wellness and healthy social networking tools.
Furthermore, loneliness becomes a real problem for many working remotely, as working from home can often lead to isolation. Loneliness comes at a high cost – both for employers and for individuals. For example, in the UK alone, the total cost companies incurred due to loneliness amounted to £2.5 million per year. Loneliness is a modern epidemic that leads to a 26% increased risk of premature death.
Solution (product or service)
Panion has successfully built a social app that connects people through common interests, values, and experiences. It is our mission to solve the loneliness epidemic and improve social integration by connecting like-minded people. We are now using our experience in connecting individuals to build Panion Communities, a community-building platform that supports organizations in facilitating social interactions amongst their members. Panion Communities is the virtual water cooler, the digital coffee corner, that allows for meaningful informal interactions and moments of togetherness that build trust and engagement between employees, especially in times of “social distancing”. The platform is entirely keyword searchable and filterable, so colleagues are able to search for each other based on common interests, values, goals or experiences and even narrow their searches by location, gender, age, language and much more. Both employers and employees can propose spontaneous events within the network and form social groups around an interest. Community admins are given a dashboard of analytics to track trends in their community and can send segmented messages based on interest and location.
Our competitors include Higher Logic, Hivebrite, We+, Lunchmates, donut, brella, attendify and eventmobi, but none of them are building exactly what Panion is building, a combination of keyword-searchable profiles, a filterable community-building tool, and a way for people to gather interest-based groups for shared (sometimes virtual) activities based on location to facilitate informal, social interactions between coworkers. Relationships in the workplace are a by-product of two primary factors: Relatedness, or how much people have in common, and Interaction, how often two people connect and communicate. Panion finds commonalities with other employees to facilitate more genuine relationships.
Advantages or differentiators
The majority of workplace wellness tools focus on collaboration and efficiency, but there are few tools that consider the social element. Yet, relationships with coworkers have been identified as the no.1 driver of employee engagement and highly engaged teams show 21% more profitability, 41% less absence and 59% less turnover.
We believe that efficiency and social interaction tools should remain separate in order to encourage a healthy work/life balance for employees. Panion uses machine learning and categorical matching to make it easy and efficient to find the exact types of colleagues and activities you are looking for. And as we grow, our algorithm becomes more intelligent and our data becomes more valuable. It's taken years to perfect the nuances of our product and our brand, and the execution cannot be easily replicated.
Panion Communities will be sold through a subscription pricing model, with a monthly fixed fee per user depending on the size of the community.
We are planning to generate additional revenue in the following ways: 1) Adding affiliate links from experience platforms to offer activities based on interest (initiated); 2) paid premium B2C features like searching for people in a location before you arrive (Q4/2020); 3) taking a processing fee for interest-based workshops booked on our platform; 4) selling data trends to aggregators, while respecting the privacy of our users (2021).
Money will be spent on
We would hire additional top notch talent for our team and pay them fairly for their experience and efforts to grow Panion. With this team, we will accelerate Panions growth by increasing our sales spend:
We are pitching Panion Communities to companies whose employees are now working remotely due to the Covid-19 crisis and who are in need of a community-building tool. We are approaching HR and Employee Experience and Wellness professionals that blog or post on LinkedIn about the challenges they are now facing due to Covid-19 related measures. We are building our SEO through posts on our own Panion blog (https://panion.com/blog) and finding ways to become more discoverable by partnering with other mental health startups and influencers in the space. We are forging partnerships with relocation agencies that help companies relocate and onboard new employees so that they may incorporate Panion Communities as a wellbeing and integration add-on service. We are currently organizing a “Global Mobility and Employee Social Well-being” webinar with one of these partners to help their clients understand the strategies available for prioritizing employee social well-being for relocated employees.
Furthermore, we will also speed up the development timeline for additional Panion Communities features, spontaneous gatherings and organized events for community activities, a threaded community post board, a dashboard for data and trends to measure interaction and activity participation and segmented messaging based on interests and location. Eventually we would be adding more features allowing us to monetize on a future Premium Communities version, which would make us even more appealing to our B2B customers.
We had originally planned to raise a seed round before the summer. Therefore, our biggest risk is the economic uncertainty due to the Covid-19 crisis. We are intensifying our efforts to approach investors in the mental health, e-health and impact space as well as applying to other grants to ensure we have the required financial resources to keep growing and expanding our product offering. As we are a two-sided marketplace, we need to grow our user base quickly. Otherwise we run the risk that our users will not find the genuine connections with like-minded people they are looking for on Panion - and will not return to the app. Our success in growth is highly dependent on having the financial means to optimize our product and marketing efforts. As we cannot anticipate just when we will go back to 'business-as-usual' and what long-term impact the Covid-19 crisis will have on the world's economic situation, we put our contingency plan into place to maximize our runway and prioritize our sales efforts.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
Panion was selected as 1 of 6 companies to join Sweden’s no.1 voted accelerator, Fast Track Malmö for the 2018 batch.
Melanie Aronson, our founder, was selected as 1 of 16 female entrepreneurs to receive mentorship through the Google for Startups female founder program in Berlin in November 2019.
Panion is selected as 1 of 10 European startups to join the
Maze X social impact accelerator in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2020.
Won the competition and other awards
Panion was selected by Venture Cup as one of the top 20 Business ideas in Sweden in 2017 and was selected as a regional finalist for their Startup competition in 2018.
Named 1 of 10 Swedish startups to watch for in 2019 by EU Startups.
Sifted named Panion 1 of 9 startups breaking the taboo of addressing mental health in Europe in 2020.
Panion is a registered trademark in the US and we are currently filing for the European trademark with the EUIPO. All employees, collaborators, contractors and other contributors to our product have signed legal documents stating that all any ideas, information, program code, designs, or writing developed for Panion remains the sole and exclusive property of the company.