It’s often hard to make new friends as an adult, and even harder as you get older, say Hank’s founders. The app connects people 55 and older with other people in their community and events that are tailored just for them. The New York City-based startup announced today that it has raised $7 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst and Resolute Ventures.
Other participants in the funding included Canaan Partners, The Fund and Tau Ventures.
Hank says it’s the first platform focused on matching adults over 55 with events such as art workshops, pickleball, coffee meetings and skydiving. The startup sponsors a number of events, but members can also create their own events.
Hank is now available in the New York City area, but will expand to markets such as New Jersey, Florida and Texas in the second half of this year. It plans to eventually be available in all 50 states.
Co-founder and CEO Brian Park said he founded Hank because after more than a decade working in technology, he realized he was only creating things for people like him, or 40 and under, in the first place.
“That got me thinking about what a very clear age bias in technology is. There’s a common misconception in the tech industry that older generations don’t understand or want new technology,” he told BestFitnessBands. “So nobody designs solutions with 55 -overs in mind, but that’s a real misconception, because in reality, those are the same people who mastered Atari and bought the first iPhone!”
That realization came around the same time that Park’s parents became empty nesters, and he and his brother watched them struggle to find new social circles and activities.
“They were frustrated by the sheer amount of time it took to find things to do, disappointed by the media’s outdated representations of older people’s lives, and unsure how to translate digital connections on traditional social media platforms into experiences from the real life.” Park’s parents eventually found connections through church and alumni groups, but he says that “the process was patchy and even those groups didn’t feel like enough for them.”
Park points to studies showing that social circles peak at 25. By the time older adults turn 50, they’ve spent years building careers and families. But after their retirement, work is no longer a source of connection. Many do not know what events can take place near them or how to meet new friends.
“There’s no easy place to find that consolidated information, as there isn’t a single solution built for this audience based on what they really want,” says Park.
Park and co-founder Andrew Hong (the two have been best friends since sixth grade) decided a better solution was needed, especially after forced isolation due to the pandemic. In addition to fighting loneliness, Hank is also tapping into a lucrative market: according to Park, people over 55 spend an average of $120 billion a year on leisure activities.
Park divides Hank’s competitors into two groups. The first are social networking sites like Facebook and Meetup that were originally designed for people in their twenties and thirties. The second is niche networks for older adults who have not built up enough exposure to create an engaged community.
“We believe we can surpass the former because we listen to and build for 55+ people, and we can outsmart the latter because we are determined to overthrow the marketing stereotype that gives such a gross misrepresentation of how midlife is. looks like.” he said.
For example, the company has launched a marketing campaign, “Generation You,” which shows that the over-50s are active.
As for his user acquisition strategy, Hank is starting with traditional paid channels, which Park says have helped them build a strong user base. “But because we want the Hank community to be built on real connections between like-minded people, we plan that the next phase of our acquisition will come from organic channels and co-marketing with interest-based organizations,” he added. The company will invest in product features to share and partner with organizations that already have niche interest-based groups, such as the Bridge & Games club in New York.
In a prepared statement, General Catalyst general manager Niko Bonatsos said: “They were the first generation to move from mixed tapes to digital playlists. They mastered Pong and successfully outlived more than 30 versions of the iPhone. They are tech savvy and it’s getting better.” time for a platform to connect this vibrant community.”