- The Canadian relationship app Couply won the 2021 pitch competition hosted by Collision, a Toronto-based technology conference attended by thousands of industry giants.
- Insider spoke to its founders, Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond, to learn more about their vision for Couply and the events leading up to its inception.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Imagine this. You finally met that special someone-whether it be on a dating app or in real life-and everything is going great until you hit that post-honeymoon-phase slump. Naturally, you turn to the app store for some guidance, only to find that the selection of relationship apps is rather slim in comparison to dating apps.
That was the ideation process behind Canadian startup Couply, founded by Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond. It’s a free relationship app designed to inspire couples to deepen their connection with fun features like personality quizzes, which then help aid the process of planning dates that are mutually enjoyable.
Couply’s vision was so successful that it won Collision 2021’s startup competition, PITCH, this past April. The bootstrapped company was one of 50 up-and-coming startups to pitch in front of a panel of judges, consisting of venture capitalists from B Capital Group, Salesforce Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners, to name a few.
The two founders crossed paths when they both worked at Wattpad, an online storytelling platform for writers. Johnson stills works on the business development side of Wattpad and is a published author with a strong background in the nonprofit sector. Raymond was a software engineer at Wattpad, where he specialized in iOS and Android development and was a member of the Wattpad Monetization team.
When Johnson came to Raymond with the idea for the app, Raymond was working as a tech lead at a product development company, building apps for companies like Bose and Peloton.
At first, Raymond had his doubts.
“I’m sort of taking it with a grain of salt because, being in the tech space, I’ve worked with different apps like this before,” Raymond told Insider.
Once Raymond came home that day and did his research, he realized that there weren’t any big players to compete with, aside from the Bumbles and Tinders in the dating space. From that point on, the duo “just got into a room and started cracking at it,” Raymond said.
Since its launch in December of 2020, Couply has grown from a few downloads a day to 1,000 downloads a week, with its daily download rate doubling each month as a result of word of mouth, Johnson told Insider. He and Raymond hope to grow their user base from their current total of 10,000+ to an audience of one million in a year from now.
Despite being developed in Canada, the app sees its biggest opportunity in the U.S. market, and this is where Johnson and Raymond plan to focus their efforts. Couply is also available for download globally and will eventually be accessible in different languages.
The foundation of Couply is rooted in its creators’ belief in the power of technology when used for good. Through research-based quizzes that are linked across both partners’ accounts, couples can better understand each other’s similarities and differences, as well as their own way of looking at the world.
This information guides Couply in providing personalized date ideas, gift suggestions, and relationship advice. In addition, the app’s integrated calendar allows users to set reminders for important relationship milestones and book thoughtful dates, which is Couply’s ultimate end goal for its users.
“This kind of drills into that core sentiment of Couply, which is to get out there and do things with your partner in the real world,” Johnson told Insider.
Even in the heat of the pandemic, Couply has fared well among its users with the help of the in-app feedback system. Through this feature, the creators are able to directly communicate with their audience and gauge the kinds of dates they’re interested in at a given time-not surprisingly, innovative ideas for a romantic night in have been highly requested.
The app also boasts a daily conversation starter tool, which is designed to help the flow of meaningful interaction beyond simple check-ins.
“You can use it as a fun thing at lunch or dinner,” Johnson said. “Or even just text it to your partner during the day to keep that journey going, so that you’re not only doing transactional conversations, you’re actually learning about each other and your internal maps of the world.”
Johnson added that he and Raymond were lucky to be able to tap into a diverse set of perspectives in Toronto’s tech community for feedback on their user experience and its accessibility for all members.