Fellowship Spotlight: Silversharers
2 May 2014 - Will Cardy

Impact Hub King’s Cross launched the London stream of  the Impact Hub Fellowship for Longer Lives in partnership with AXA and Swiss Re Foundation in January this year – Seven finalists then spent a day pitching to our expert jury panel.

Finally three brilliant finalists were chosen to be part of the accelerator cohort. ‘Speakset’, ‘See What I Mean’ and ‘Silversharers’ all fit the bill– we caught up with Peter Mangan, founder of Silversharers after the event to ask him a couple of questions.

What inspired you to explore your enterprise idea? 

Peter: I was becomingly increasingly aware of the significant numbers of older people living alone and the prevalence of loneliness and isolation among this growing demographic. Many such people are living in former family homes often referred to as “empty nests” where the surfeit of idle rooms can even exacerbate such feelings. Aside from what I was reading, I was also seeing evidence of this closer to home. Meanwhile I was learning more about, and becoming intrigued with the sharing economy model, and it struck me that the concept of peer to peer sharing offered real potential if it could be applied in a meaningful way to addressing some of these challenges facing the older generation. In essence, the aim is to use this model to facilitate seniors to share each other’s company in a mutually rewarding, empowering and fun way.

How did you meet your team?

Peter: I’m still looking on that front. I’m really keen to meet and work with highly talented people with passion, drive and a belief that we can achieve something really special. For me in the first instance, that means finding an exceptional designer with a flair for addressing the nuances of a target group (in particular seniors), and a tech whiz with the ability to build the infrastructure that can deliver on the vision.

What has been an important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Peter: First of all, be perceptive. There are problems and opportunities all around us that can be addressed by applying some creative thinking and having a real commitment and energy to change things for the better. The first step however is to identify them, so it is important to pay attention to the world around you. Beyond that…trust your instincts, ask all the hard questions of yourself and others, and if/when you really know, then go for it.

Any good advice/ support received by someone for this?

Peter: Plenty. I have a number of entrepreneurial friends; clever experienced people who have been there, done it or are doing it, and to be able to bounce big ambitious ideas off them in a real way – where the practicalities get probed, considered, and guided – was a huge thing for me. It made the mountain seem scalable, albeit with a lot of preparation and planning required. The fact that my nearest and dearest love the idea, and are highly encouraging, is a major factor as well.

What are you most looking forward to from the Fellowship programme?

Peter: Being able to really focus on developing this idea/venture on a full-time basis. I see this as a ‘heart and soul’ project and I am looking forward to being able to give it that, which the Fellowship programme enables me to do. I can’t imagine a better platform than the Impact Hub to get this idea off the ground – working with passionate, creative, talented people, in a fantastic and highly stimulating venue, surrounded by buzzing entrepreneurs, with dedicated mentors and coaches, and access to the international Hub network… I can’t wait to get started!

Who are you currently collaborating with?

Peter: Given the very early stage of my venture, my collaborations are only beginning. However I have already met some very interesting and influential people in the ageing sector and am very encouraged by the prospects for collaboration. I have no doubt that the Impact Hub Fellowship programme will be a massive enabler in this. I am also in regular discussions with (and learning a lot from) the guys in Elderberry, an exciting and innovative inter-generational start-up here in London. Jens, one of the founders, is a long-time close friend, and it’s great to be able to consult and share ideas with someone like that, who has the entrepreneurial experience and expertise, and is already making waves in common waters.

What does impact mean to you?

Peter: Making a real, positive difference to the world around us; that could mean improving one person’s life, or improving the lives of many.