Kinnd exists to solve the epidemic of loneliness by helping everyone, everywhere, make friends.
That is our mission 🙂
Tell us about yourself?
Laura Whitney Sniderman is the Founder of Kinnd, a new friendship app and movement that’s revolutionizing human connection in an effort to combat the epidemic of loneliness. She and Kinnd have been featured in over 40 media publications, including the Huffington Post, Yahoo, Amex Essentials, Wondermind, CTV, Global News, CBC, BlogTO, etc. She started Kinnd at the beginning of the pandemic after personally experiencing the mental health impact of loneliness. She tried current friendship apps and found them to be superficial and unhelpful in facilitating connection, so she decided to develop a new system for friend-making online grounded in research on human connection.
Laura has a Masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. Over nine years, she has developed a methodology for meaningful connection that positions mutual vulnerability, generosity, reciprocity, and ongoing energy as the essential ingredients.
Laura is a two-time Founder, having previously run an International Women’s retreat organization for six years. She was also a Senior Wellness Consultant with CIGNA, previously the VP of Marketing for The World Happiness Foundation, and the Head of Educational Programming for a leading meditation app company called Muse.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Be patient and trust the process. At the beginning of building Kinnd, I thought things would move WAY more quickly. But developing an app and building strong foundations within a community and a vision takes time. It’s important to not rush to an end goal but rather ensure that the journey is leading you where you actually want to go.
What problem does your business solve?
Loneliness. Even before the pandemic, 41 per cent of the global population identified as lonely. One of the biggest challenges with loneliness is that, as an adult, it becomes harder to make new friends. That’s because as life gets busier, we tend to de-prioritize friends. There are fewer in-person opportunities to meet people (especially now with remote work), and there is a lack of psychological resources to help adults develop social skills. We aim to solve this problem.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
I experienced pretty severe anxiety, had immense trouble sleeping, and began developing unhealthy distraction methods after moving to a new city and prioritizing everything in my life except forming new connections. I realized that I saw friendships as a luxury and that they are an absolute necessity for mental health and happiness. I started Kinnd after this experience upon my return to Toronto when COVID-19 hit. I wanted to find a way to form new meaningful connections online during a time when we were socially isolated. I decided to start by creating a Facebook Community to test a methodology I designed during my Masters around human connection.
What is your magic sauce?
We not only introduce people, our app actually facilitates the deepening of a connection online. We make it easy to bond.
We help you do this through psychology-oriented icebreaker games and by encouraging all members to connect by exchanging their knowledge, skills, and time.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
When you think of a friendship app, you will think of Kinnd. We aim to become the Hinge of friendship.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge we face is the stigma surrounding friendship apps. It’s incredibly rare to hear someone say, “I met them on a friendship app.” But I ask, “Why?” Why is it still “weird” to find a friend online when finding your life partner online is not only “normal” but incredibly common? I believe that we are living through a moment in time where we must collectively normalize the friendship app because the truth is one in three people is lonely and wants to make new friends!
Think about this scenario: “It’s Friday night, I don’t feel like going on a date, but I really want to go for dinner with someone. My friends are busy. I jump on a friendship app and form a nice new connection. We go out for dinner and have an awesome evening.
That sounds pretty great, right? Unfortunately, this is not the norm. Most people stop at “darn, my friends are busy” and spend the night alone watching Netflix.
The point here is that dating apps are cool and normalized, so why aren’t friendship apps? It’s time we embrace technology for all kinds of connections. This is our biggest collective challenge and one that I encourage EVERYONE to get behind!
How can people get involved?
Get on our Mailing and Beta Testing List for info and early access to our app: www.forms.gle/5aoobKMT6cXNzrdg9
Join our Facebook Community of 13,500 plus members: www.facebook.com/groups/Kinnd