True has participated in a preseed investment round for Mirthy a community and activities platform for the over-60s. Led by Ascension’s Fair By Design fund, Mirthy has raised £800,000, just a year after launching.
The number of those aged over 65 is set to rise sharply over the next 30 years. In the OECD member countries, there will be an extra 146 million elderly by 2045 – an increase of 70% on today’s population.
Technology adoption is increasing rapidly among this demographic – according to a Report from Mangrove Capital Partners, almost three quarters of those aged over 55 in the UK now own a smartphone. Over a third use messaging apps such as WhatsApp and 43% use social media services such as Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch with friends and family. Mirthy is providing a service for this consumer group that have adapted to a more technologically-led world and True invests in businesses such as Mirthy that are successfully navigating consumer behavioural change.
Mirthy are catering to the young old – those focused on living life to the fullest at the start of their third age. Mirthy’s platform allows over 60s to host or participate in activities and socialising both online and eventually offline too. Longer term, Mirthy’s goal is to become the go-to platform for all over 60s’ social, physical and financial needs.
Co-Founders Alex Ramamurthy and Dhruv Haria, who set up Mirthy, share a passion for digital approaches to building communities for over-60s. Ramamurthy had been an Age UK volunteer, involved in social start-ups and was chief executive of The Care Workers Charity.
“While dialogue around an ageing population focuses on the growing burden on health services, my experience sees a generation of people with more energy, desire for life and time than ever before,” says Ramamurthy. “I want Mirthy to join you on this new journey once you are no longer in full time work, introduce you to like-minded people, entertain you, and keep you energised!”
“As my mom and dad approached retirement, I noticed how their wellbeing was being affected by their decreasing social circles and the increasing inactive free time they had alone,” says Haria. “Having launched several digital start-ups, I wanted to use technology as a way to find a solution to this issue for my parents and millions of other adults nearing or having passed retirement.”
A recent Mirthy survey showed 81% of users would continue to attend online events and classes after the end of lockdown. This supports Mirthy’s digital-first strategy for activities and community, even after the easing of lockdown restrictions.