Kindaba, a Scottish-based family-focused private social network has launched a limited beta form of their product along with secured an investment which will help the company expand internationally.
The firm received £30,000 from Edinburgh-based pre-seed funding incubator, Seed Haus which places Kindaba in the inaugural cohort of five early-stage startups.
Seed Haus provides equity investment through a syndicate of high-profile Scottish entrepreneurs and investors including Sir Tom Hunter, video game innovator Chris van der Kuyl, and BrewDog’s James Watt.
“We’re excited about working with Kindaba. The product really spoke to us. It addresses a pain-point that impacts the founders directly, which is something we love to see in early-stage opportunities,” says Calum Forsyth, Seed Haus CEO. “Kindaba has a strong team who we believe are able to make this succeed.”
Kindaba CEO Rob Gelb founded the company in 2017 after experiencing first-hand the challenge of maintaining online privacy.
“I come from a privacy-conscious family,” he says. “I have relatives all over the world who don’t feel comfortable using Facebook, but like me, want to follow the adventures of the latest new cousin and stay in touch.”
After speaking with others, Rob found that his family weren’t alone. More than half (56%) of parents prefer to keep family photos and videos away from social media for reasons of privacy, according to a recent Ofcom study.
“I wanted a way for you to keep everyone up to date without worrying who else can see these moments. Something that’s more private than Facebook, but that’s better suited to families and all their photos than WhatsApp,” says Gelb.
Unlike traditional social networks, with Kindaba, families create private circles of a household and family followers. No one is discoverable publicly, there are no ads and simple privacy settings give you confidence in who can see anything that you post or share.
“With Kindaba, you own your own content, and we don’t sell your personal data to anyone,” says Kindaba co-founder Lizzie Brough.
“A big problem with existing social networks is that you are the product. It’s in their best interest to understand you as much as they can so they can target ads to you for profit,” she explains. “That’s fine if you’re happy to give up a large degree of privacy, but the way public social networks go about that data mining is something that concerns a lot of people, especially parents,” she says.
Seed Haus’s Forsyth sees the timing as key: “The market has matured significantly in recent years; the generation that grew up using social media platforms are on the cusp of starting their own families. Users are more digitally literate than ever before and are seeking strong privacy controls. We believe that Kindaba sit at this interface and add real value.”
After two years of market research, Gelb and Brough founded Kindaba in January 2017 and secured £55,000 in first round funding by February, at which point they entered the Entrepreneurial Spark Edinburgh Hub. They then grew the team to four, and began building the platform.
The team are looking forward to launching the platform more widely.
“The response so far has been exciting. The more we talk to parents everywhere, the same issues are coming up again and again,” says Gelb. “The market is just getting started when it comes to targeted SaaS for individuals. No one’s doing it well for families yet, and we’re ready to change that.”