With £500K, this UK-based social planner startup is transforming group meetups amid pandemic

Howbout founders main

In 2020, while the pandemic impacted the economy worldwide, it also propelled many businesses forward. Howbout is a UK-based social planning and calendar app startup that observed notable growth during the pandemic. It grew over 600% last year and it has now broken through its crowdfunding initiative to raise £500k from over 700 investors, across 40+ countries.

Next level social collaboration

After a soft launch in December 2019, Howbout raised an initial £100,000, which was co-led by Claire Valoti. It went ahead to launch officially in July 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. This didn’t really spell well for an app that relied on getting people together. However, Howbout witnessed over 600% growth in its user base during the pandemic as its users found new ways to make use of it. 

Howbout updates the personal calendar experience and while the plans are now different, the problems are still the same. Trying to figure out when 10 people are free for a Zoom call is as difficult as figuring out when they are free for dinner. “It combines the informality of a group chat with the practicality of modern planning features and takes all the pain out of getting friends together. A group can instantly find when they’re all free, easily organise any in-person or virtual social plan and quickly manage everything they’ve got going on,” the company’s media release reads. 

Exceeding funding expectations 

Howbout decided to crowdfund for its latest round and it apparently fulfilled its initial target in 24 hours. The company decided to keep going and maxed out its investment at £500,000, at 200% of its initial target. The successful raise is being attributed to Gen Z and millennials, which are a majority of users of the app. 

Sameer Singh, a notable network effects expert and investor, is also investing in the company as part of the round in his first investment as part of the 2021 Atomico Angel Programme. Atomico’s 2021 cohort consists of 18 founders, operators, community organisers and sector experts. Each angel receives £72,000 to invest independently for over one year.

“Following the announcement of the end-of-lockdown roadmap, there’s a socialising boom ready to happen. Whether it’s helping people organise picnics from March, trips to the pub from April, summer staycations from May or huge nights out from June, Howbout is the perfect app to help people get back to being social” says Neil Tanna, 28, Co-Founder & CEO of Howbout.

Howbout was founded by Tanna and his university mates; Duncan Cowan, and Jake Jenner. They all left lucrative jobs in corporate law, spacecraft engineering and investment banking to start Howbout and launched the app in December 2019.