A start-up founded and created in typical garage setting from a small regional alpine town in New Zealand, Wanaka, kin2kin is a free, safe and simple “one-click” app developed to create stronger relationships within the modern family through photos and messaging.
Designed not to compete against but to complement social media, it is a private platform that aims to trigger conversations and deliver those long-term benefits of staying and feeling connected to your family.
Whether you are living on opposite sides of the world, a grandparent who wants to keep up with the grandkids’ activities or you are part of one of those complex families, kin2kin promises to be the the answer – simple for grandparents, efficient for busy parents and safe for younger kids.
How does it keep you connected to your kin?
kin2kin is a kind of private and live family album. Photos are organised by who is in the photo, not who sent them. Simply loving a photo, or making a comment, lets the person in the photo know you are thinking about them and lets you start a conversation directly with that person.
By grouping family into households, the app allows parents to control the younger kids’ accounts. You can also share household devices, which allow the parent’s phone, or a single iPad to be shared by the household and everyone can be independently connected through their own account.
By keeping it as simple as possible and focusing on the needs of all generations, the app is able to compliment and not compete with existing mainstream social media, whilst keeping up to date with all the families activities.
The company was founded by Hamish McGregor, a husband and father of two kids.
Hamish used to be a mechanical engineer before he embarked on this adventure. He worked for three years in the petro-chemical industry in Melbourne, before joining the finance industry for 14 years.
He then worked as a FX and Commodities trader travelling the world whilst working in Auckland, Sydney, Singapore, London and New York (where the kids were born).
After the kids were born, Hamish and his family came back to live in a small alpine town in New Zealand called Wanaka where the idea for kin2kin was born.
Hamish founded the app in October 2014 when he noticed a gap in the market for a solution that was not just about photo updates but that had real interactions at the core.
“The catalyst was trying to find a better way to trigger stronger connections between my kids, their grandparents and our wider, complex family,” he told Anthill.
“With busy schedules, different time zones, and different ages and technical abilities, it can be tough. I noticed that most of the communication between the older and younger generations was live, through phone calls or Skype, which as it turns out is challenging with busy schedules and different time zones.
“I also realised that whilst the kids are very tech savvy, they were not really involved in conversations with their grandparents who in turn want to connect with their grandkids and families across multiple households, not just the ones within my immediate circle.
“At the same time, I started thinking that parents are busy too, so there was a need for something fast and safe that offered a unique value to other social platforms.
“Imagine if family could safely respond direct to the kid in the photo no matter which parent posted it? How could we make this as simple and safe as possible for all ages?” he posited. And thus kin2kin took shape as an app designed specifically for the modern family.
Hamish had no background in designing such an app but backed up by a group of talented Kiwi tech innovators, including the app developer Stu Sharpe, the Emmy award winner for America’s Cup in April 2014, and a group of accomplished investors such as eftpos founder Peter Marshall, the app was officially launched in March 2016 and it has so far been downloaded in 51 countries counting 5,000 users.
kin2kin has had 30 per cent a month organic growth, and raised $1.5 million privately in 2015, and is planning to close the private round at $2 million in 2016.
What sets it apart from other photo apps?
“We are in the relationship business, not just photo sharing. We use photos to trigger connections between all family members when you cannot be together,” says Hamish.
“We include the kids who are normally left out, and allow grandparents to have a “brag book” with organised photos rather than just a single feed of all photos.”
He says the biggest asset is not the photos, but the unique love-and-support-network around family. This is the company’s mission and they are currently working on an ecosystem that can empower organisations that inspire or assist youth and seniors.