Mumbai: In a first online startup community for seniors, Evergreen Club has rolled out a social networking platform exclusively for the over 50 population called “Club”. Designed specifically to create a safe space for seniors, the “Club” app helps them network, learn and share their creations with like-minded people in the community. Evergreen Club founder Tapan Mishra spoke to Indiantelevision.com about what prompted him to come up with the concept and whether the pandemic-fueled social isolation had anything to do with it. application deployment.
An alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Mishra is no newcomer to this segment, having founded Seniority, a consumer product platform addressing the support and lifestyle needs of older people. in August 2016. Being the first player in this space, Seniority has leveraged its market intelligence and expertise to create a carefully curated product portfolio of over 10,000 SKUs, 100+ brands aimed at elderly care .
The recently launched social networking feature, “Club”, facilitates the creation of user-generated content (UGC), making it a one-of-a-kind platform designed to help seniors live more fulfilling lives. and independent while meeting their social needs. needs and creating a sense of belonging.
Respond to an “underserved” category
“I’ve been working with this audience for over five years now,” says Mishra. Interacting with them through various channels and conducting several group chats (FGDs), he says he discovered that “loneliness and social isolation” is the biggest problem they face in life.
Although we may think that loneliness and social isolation are recent phenomena, age-related issues of loneliness and social isolation existed before (the pandemic), notes Mishra. “It just happened that the problem started to be noticed because everyone could now understand what it felt like to be alone due to limitations beyond your control,” he adds, referring to the pandemic. fueled by Covid-19.
On whether the pandemic had anything to do with the app’s rollout, Mishra says, “It just so happened that our efforts were stepped up to build Evergreen Club because everyone felt the need for it.” And a year later, when we hear feedback from our users on our platform, the belief in growth and Evergreen Club grows even stronger, he says.
Based on her experience working with this community over the past half-decade, Mishra says she has received feedback and complaints about companies disregarding their needs or making products without understanding their needs. “With increasing urbanization and lifestyle changes, I believe we need to create safe spaces online to meet the specific needs of a particular group.”
Mishra believes this community of citizens has always been “underserved”. “The number of individuals in this age group is approximately over 250 million and we know that a considerable portion is compatible with the technology if we take WhatsApp’s user base as a proxy,” it adds. -he.
He strongly believes that restricting the offer to the over 50 age group is not a limiting factor but “an essential intervention to build an exclusive platform” for this audience.
“With Evergreen Club, we have been able to understand the needs of our audience through our official outreach groups and also through our hosts who lead various sessions. We created these close groups to help users interact with each other and our customer service teams to help them on their networking journey and at the same time get smooth feedback,” says Mishra, on what makes them happy. led to the creation of the “Club”. for people in similar life stages.
“Through this, we observed that users were eager to share lessons from the sessions, their artworks, their performances and also to engage in the exchange, appreciation and motivation of others throughout. their next phase of life’s journey,” he adds.
According to a recent report cited by the company, more than 90% of older internet users use social media platforms primarily to connect with family and friends. The founder of Evergreen Club says that although several social media platforms exist and are well established, each serves its purpose. “We created ‘Club’ as a non-judgmental platform where like-minded people over 50 share not only their emotions, their journeys but also their artwork, performance, progress, etc., that they learn from our sessions and courses.
“Whereas if they are on these other platforms, there will be content that may not resonate with them at all given that much of the content is created by a younger generation or two,” Mishra points out. It’s where they belong and can generate and consume content that is relevant to them, he says.
The feature also claims to keep “tight control of negative noise through automated moderation capabilities.” Mishra explains, “To create a safe space, it is important for us to check if there is shared content that goes against our community guidelines. If a post goes against our set guidelines, we don’t let the user post the same or ask to take it down with the reason. Since no human can browse every post, we use artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to keep our network space secure, he adds.
The safety factor
Today, seniors are increasingly vulnerable to digital scams and fall prey to online scammers. How will the platform ensure that it provides a “safe space” for the community?
We are very aware of this fact, acknowledges Mishra. “While the previously mentioned automated tool helps us remove spammy content, if any, can be handled using crowd intelligence from our user base. We have reporting features where users can select reasons for reporting a particular post, comment, or profile. Our team regularly monitors these reports and takes appropriate action in accordance with our established process.”
The platform also organizes sessions where it educates its members about these frauds and misadventures. “We participated in the “Check Kiya? campaign (part of Verified, a global United Nations campaign partnered with the goal of stopping the spread of misinformation) by hosting sessions on the same,” he shares.
Growth and distribution of users since launch
With over 300,000 installs, over 150,000 monthly active users (MAUs), and nearly 1,000 live sessions each month, the platform has seen its user base grow more than 20x over the course of the year. past year, showing growth of up to 40% per month. -on-month, depending on the company.
The Evergreen Club is open to all adults over the age of 50, through its presence on the website as well as the app (on iOS and Android) for free. Its major user base is spread across India not only in Tier 1 cities but also in Tier 2 cities with some people also joining Tier 3, shares Mishra. “We also have a few users across borders,” he says, adding, “The offering in its current form and structure can be launched globally, but we are prioritizing market needs. Indian. .”
The Evergreen Club received Google’s “Playstore’s Best App for Good, 2021” award, while also being shortlisted for the Google for Startup Accelerator 2022 program, according to the company.
Watch the Club social networking app launch video here: