Panion has announced plans to rebrand and transition into the B2B SaaS space. The company has shifted the entirety of its focus from a friendship-based app designed to help people integrate into new cities to an enterprise platform that helps community managers of large global networks build more privacy, empathy, and meaningful connection into their online communities.
“Community building is on the rise and community managers have for too long been juggling multiple tools in order to be able to manage the variety of different aspects of their communities,” says Melanie Aronson, founder and CEO.
Using its existing matchmaking, geo-localisation, and keyword-tagging technologies, Panion is building a powerful alternative to traditional online groups, like those facilitated through Facebook and Slack, which lack community engagement elements. Panion’s platform facilitates event management, peer-to-peer communication and communal discussions, both U.S. and European friendly billing options, and will soon facilitate mentorship and buddy matchmaking programs, allow community managers to charge membership fees, and collect for paid events and knowledge-based content (courses). Panion has prioritised a mobile-first online community experience as increasingly more and more communities are born informally on Whatsapp and Telegram groups and they have recently released a beta version of their web platform.
“We all recognise that online groups are useful, but most of the time we use these groups for gathering knowledge or discussing a specific topic,” says Aronson. “We are offering large associations and professional networks the ability to build thriving customized global communities that facilitate meaningful connection in which their members can feel a deeper sense of belonging and involvement in the community and the organisation itself.”
In-person communities are often centered around events and face-to-face peer interactions that better facilitate making friends and networking opportunities. Panion’s platform mimics the various ways in which we socialize in real life by integrating member tagging, sorting and filtering, member-driven activities, and more opportunities for spontaneity into the online community experience.
Panion has interviewed over 250 community managers to learn more about their challenges and needs. Many are frustrated by social media platforms that don’t offer a white label solution and existing SaaS platforms that don’t accommodate the unique requirements of community management in an intuitive visually-engaging user interface. Panion’s ongoing dialogue with these key stakeholders allows for invaluable customer feedback, testing, and strategising with the company’s most committed customers.
Since 2018, Panion has received $626K USD in angel investment from notable angels like David Helgason, Klaus Nyengaard, Sarah Drinkwater (Atomico Angel), Sune Alstrup Johansen, Alexey Levin, Scott Mackin, Fredrik Bendroth, Ulf Munkedal, Nordic Makers, &Grow Ventures, and Unconventional VC.
Klaus Nyengaard, Co-founder & CEO of LetsBuild and Former CEO of JUST EAT explains his reasoning for becoming one of the first to back Panion, “To create a community platform that solves the flaws of the current dominant platforms like Facebook is a really hard task. If someone can do it, then it is Melanie, with her unique background that enables her to mix both creative and analytical approaches – and driven by her passion to do good in this world.”
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