Wanaka-based app developers want to connect disjointed families around the world on a social media platform that provides a private and supportive method of keeping in touch.

kin2kin, founded by Hamish McGregor, has users in 51 countries around the world, despite only having a "soft-launch" in New Zealand.

The app wasn't designed to compete with Facebook, but to be used alongside it and other social media platforms.

The kin2kin team, founder Hamish McGregor in light blue shirt, in Lake Wanaka. Photo / Supplied
The kin2kin team, founder Hamish McGregor in light blue shirt, in Lake Wanaka. Photo / Supplied

"LinkedIn is my business [profile], Facebook is my friends, Pinterest is my hobbies," McGregor said.


"No one owns that family space right now and we think we have a unique way of doing it. We think you can call kin2kin the family app globally and that's what we're aiming to achieve."

One household can establish the group and add members like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to the app, where they can see and comment on photos posted by the household. The pictures might be photos of kids shared so the grandparents and other family members can see them and keep up to date with what's going on in the household.

McGregor comes from a complex family after his parents divorced.

The app was deliberately built to cater to blended, modern families better than a group on Facebook, where estranged family members can be uncomfortable.

He said he was struck by the difficult situation of making his father feel connected to his grandchildren beyond scheduled email updates and realised other families would be in similar situations.

McGregor said the app had been designed to be simple and secure to protect vulnerable tech users like young people and elderly people.

Alzheimer's NZ and other health representatives have been consulted about the importance of keeping elderly people connected to family and friends.

SeniorNet, a community tech training network for people aged over 50, has also been collaborating with kin2kin.

"We've thoroughly enjoyed introducing our members to kin2kin," said chief executive Grant Sidaway.

"Like us, this service is practical and positive and has been developed with ease of use for older people in mind. SeniorNet and kin2kin share key values of connecting and supporting seniors."

McGregor and his team are now focused on looking to Australia and the US for expansion.

Queenstown developer Stu Sharpe, who was part of a trio that won an Emmy award for the official America's Cup app, has been part of the development team.