Howbout, a startup that makes it easier for groups of friends to make plans, has raised £1.92 million.

The London firm says it is part of a growing trend of ‘dark’ social media apps that prioritise closed-networks of personal connections over public forums.

The social planning app allows friends to instantly find when they’re all free using smart time matching, polls or calendar sharing from which they can then easily create plans. 

Users can see all their different plans with all their different friendship groups in one place. Howbout already has more than 500,000 downloads to date and users in 125+ countries have made more than 3 million plans on it since its launch in August 2020. 

100,000 plans are now made weekly on the app co-founded by CEO Neil Tanna, a former corporate lawyer who came up with the idea when struggling to organise plans with friends post-university. 

Co-founders include CFO Jake Jenner, a former investment banker, and CTO Duncan Cowan, a software and electrical systems engineer. 

Investors in the round include ACF Investors, Supernode Global, Boost Capital, and angel investors Claire Valoti (senior advisor Snap Inc.) and Desigan Chinniah (ex-Paypal and Skype). 

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“Let’s face it – making plans with friends can be draining. The faff of finding a time that works for everyone and then agreeing what you’re doing and where you’re doing it usually stops the majority of plans from happening,” said Tanna.

“Being spontaneous is really hard. Howbout works to make it really easy to go from planning to plan- made. It’s been an awesome start: we’ve seen really exciting growth since we launched and the feedback has been great. 

“This investment is a massive boost for our plans to expand to new markets and improve our tech even more.” 

The funding will be used to support the app’s global expansion, hire new personnel and invest in research and development. 

Tim Mills, managing partner at ACF Investors, said: “Howbout’s organic global growth is a testament to how much value users are getting out of this app. The existing social media giants are so often in the headlines – rarely for a good reason – that we forget that this is an area that is actually ripe for innovation. 

“We’re seeing users turn away from public forum environments and towards more private, more thoughtfully curated spaces that are full of people they care about. With Gen Z particularly enthusiastic about this new wave of social, it’s a very exciting time, and Howbout has a fantastic chance of being a major success story.”

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