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Paired picks up $1M funding and launches its relationship app for couples

Paired, a new app for couples, is launching today and disclosing $1 million in funding. Backing the startup, which wants to support “happier and healthier” relationships, is Taavet Hinrikus of TransferWise, the co-founders of Runtastic (which was sold to Adidas), Ed Cooke of Memrise and Bernhard Niesner of Busuu.

Founded in September 2019 by Kevin Shanahan and Diego López, who previously worked together at language learning app Memrise, and joined shortly afterwards by Chief Relationships Officer Dr Jacqui Gabb, who is Professor of Sociology and Intimacy at The Open University, Paired combines audio tips from experts with “fun daily questions and quizzes” that partners answer together.

The app has been piloted (and iterated) in Australia for the last six months and is pitched as different to traditional couples therapy, which is often prescribed to couples in distress, in that it is targeting the “full spectrum” of couples who want help building intimacy and improving communication. The idea is that Paired can provide the steps needed by couples to improve their relationship each day.

Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Paired is free to download but requires a subscription to unlock the full library of content.

“Our relationship with our partner is one of the most important parts of our lives: it affects our physical health, our mental health, and the lives of our children,” says Kevin Shanahan, co-founder and CEO. “However, there aren’t many solutions to help couples keep their relationship healthy. Most are designed for couples in distress”.

Shanahan says that Paired prompts you and your partner to take “small, positive steps” to improve your relationship. To do this, the startup works with relationship academics and therapists to create quizzes, audio courses, and tips that “help you to learn more about each other, resolve conflict, and build intimacy”.

Experts collaborating with Paired include University of Washington Professor and Married at First Sight USA’s Dr. Pepper Schwartz, University of Exeter academics Mark Rivett and Hannah Sherbersky, and Oakland University Professor and Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Terri Orbuch.

After downloading Paired, you’re asked if you’d like to pair with your partner to swap answers. To enable this, you’re given a unique code to share. Alternatively, you can choose to pair later or just use the app by yourself.

“Each day we then prompt you to answer either a question or quiz,” explains Shanahan. “These rotate between different areas of your relationship so you can learn which areas are strong and which have room for growth. If you’re paired with your partner, then when they answer the quiz or question you can unlock each other’s answer and discuss them together.

“In parallel, you begin listening to (and will soon be able to read) audio courses and tips that are presented by top relationship academics and therapists. These are on a range of topics — including sex and intimacy, managing conflict, and parenting — and include couple case studies to learn from and exercises to do outside of the app”.

Shanahan describes Paired’s user base as quite broad, made up of new couples, some who have been together for a long time, long-distance couples and people using the app individually. The majority are aged 30-50 and use the app with their partner.

“Each day they typically use the app for about 5 minutes and (based on anecdotal feedback) discuss their answers outside of the app for another 5 minutes or so,” says the Paired CEO.

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