Former Wattpad employees close $300,000 to build relationship improvement app Couply

Couply’s investors include Wattpad co-founder Ivan Yuen, Shopify employees.

Couply, which was founded by two Wattpad alumni, has secured $300,000 CAD and the support of former co-workers and Wattpad co-founder Ivan Yuen to build out their mobile relationship app.

The Toronto-based startup offers an app for couples that aims to help them improve their communication and strengthen their relationships.

“As we started to see both the numbers and the stories, we were like, ‘okay, it’s time for us to go all-in.’”
-Tim Johnson, Couply
 

After building some momentum, winning Collision’s startup pitch competition last year and reaching 100,000 downloads organically, Couply plans to use the new capital to grow its team and expand its app’s personalization capabilities.

“I realized that there were so many apps to help people get into a relationship, but not as many that I felt were doing a really good job of helping people stay in a relationship,” Couply co-founder and CEO Tim Johnson told BetaKit in an interview.

Couply’s pre-seed funding, the startup’s first round of venture financing to date, came in the form of a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE). In addition to Wattpad co-founder and CSO Ivan Yuen, Couply’s round saw participation from undisclosed marketing and product employees from Wattpad, Drop, and Shopify, OneLocal co-founder Neel Lukka, Figure1 founder Greg Levey, Single Key CTO Mike Sousa, Surf (formerly Trufan) CEO Swish Goswami, Kathy Huynh of RBC Ventures, and others from Bloomberg.

Prior to joining Couply, co-founder and CTO Denesh Raymond worked as a mobile developer and software engineer at a variety of different tech companies, including TribalScale, Connected, Snibble, and Kijiji.

Johnson and Raymond met while working together at Wattpad, where Johnson spent nearly six years, most recently serving as the company’s director of brand partnerships for Canada and the United Kingdom, and Raymond worked as an Android engineer.

The pair pursued Couply as a “side hustle” for awhile. They launched their “very ugly MVP” in December 2019, gathered feedback from early users, and began refining their offering.

Couply publicly launched version two of its app in April 2021 at Collision, beating out 49 other companies to claim victory at the tech conference’s startup pitch competition.

RELATED: Couply crowned winner of Collision 2021 startup pitch competition

After seeing a strong response from its users and reaching the 100,000 downloads milestone, Johnson and Raymond opted to begin building Couply on a full-time basis.

“As we started to see both the numbers and the stories, we were like, ‘okay, it’s time for us to go all-in,’” said Johnson.

According to the CEO, Couply sits at the intersection of “two really large macro trends” in the mobile app space: online dating and digital wellness.

“Between those is where we see Couply fitting,” said Johnson. “So, once you get off Tinder, once you’re off Bumble and you’re in a relationship, that’s when Couply can start bringing you value, whether it’s your first day or you’re celebrating your 10th anniversary.”

According to the CEO, what he and Raymond were particularly excited by was “this idea of personalization and customization.”

RELATED: As Naver closes $754 million CAD acquisition of Wattpad, Allen Lau is looking to scale

“It’s like, hey, let’s let people do personality quizzes, understand things like your attachment style, your communication style, and then give people custom relationship advice, give suggestions, date ideas based on the unique things that make up you and your partner’s relationship,” said Johnson.

Couply uses the information from these research-based quizzes to build user personality profiles, and plans to use some of its pre-seed funding to grow this personalization component of its app.

“What’s been really exciting is that people have been recommending Couply to each other organically,” said Johnson. “That’s how people are finding out about our app, is by word of mouth.”

Couply’s target market is the United States (US), where 65 percent of its user base is currently located.

The startup’s app is currently available across the world in English, and Raymond told BetaKit that Couply has plans “to localize for a bunch of languages very, very soon.”

“What’s been really exciting is that people have been recommending Couply to each other organically.”
-Tim Johnson, Couply
 

Since its Collision competition victory, Couply has added a bunch of new features to its app, including in-app messaging, deeper personalization in the form of long-distance mode for couples in long-distance relationships, and a journal designed to help couples record and remember key moments.

In January, Couply surveyed over 1,000 members of its user base regarding the biggest challenges in their relationships. Couply users cited communication issues and not spending enough quality time together as their top two relationship challenges.

“Despite spending more time with our partners than ever before, many of us locked in the house with them 24 hours a day, we still see the biggest challenges in relationships being understanding, communication, and spending that ‘couply’ or quality time together,” said Johnson.

Couply’s long-term vision is to “help millions of people around the world create better relationships.”

Johnson said Couply plans to keep the core features of its app free, adding that as it grows, they plan to explore a freemium model that allows users to subscribe to access deeper insights and more unique experiences.

Feature image courtesy Couply.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling and breaking Canadian tech and innovation stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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