Gaining a more fulfilling relationship with a significant other is an ongoing activity, made even more important today as many couples spend either a lot of time together, or not as much, because of social distancing.
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Serial entrepreneur Lesley Eccles has raised a $5 million Series A round of funding to fuel growth plans for Relish, her new customized relationship training app that makes it easy to build a happy, healthy, more connected relationship with your partner.
“It doesn’t matter how much money or success you have, what matters are the relationships in your life: How strong are they, and how happy are you?” Eccles told Crunchbase News.
The app uses machine learning to create a customized, scientifically backed relationship improvement plan in the form of interactive lessons, quizzes and activities, with qualified human relationship coaches on hand for support when needed, she said.
The 1-year-old company’s Series A was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from previous investors Trinity Ventures and Bullpen Capital. This latest round brings the company’s total funding to $7.2 million, which includes a $2.2 million venture round in October 2018, according to Crunchbase data.
In addition to the raise, Rob Stavis, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, will join Relish’s board of directors.
‘Cracks are now chasms’
The concept for Relish started at the end of 2017, when Eccles left fantasy sports platform FanDuel where she was a co-founder. She began reading books about relationship science and psychology, and started digging deeper into what makes a strong relationship between intimate partners.
“The idea behind Relish is to get people thinking about relationship wellness,” she said. “I want to make the world a happier place. Two years ago, that was relevant to me, but today it is relevant to the world at large.”
The app mimics the experience of seeing a relationship coach, proposing customized lessons and activities based on an assessment, and will adapt as the lessons and activities are completed, Eccles said. There is also a team of relationship coaches who users can reach out to for advice.
Eccles said the app is growing by 30 percent to 40 percent each month. Meanwhile, Relish is free to download, and the annual subscription is $99 for two people. Similar apps, she said, can cost near that per week.
Prior to today’s environment of social distancing, Relish users downloaded the app because they felt disconnected from their partner and wanted to improve communication skills, Eccles said. Now, she sees users who are at home together and find they have more time to reflect on their relationship and invest in it–if it is not too late.
“There is also this idea that you are in a pressure-cooker environment, and cracks in the relationship are now chasms,” she added. “You need help, but can’t go and meet friends. Relish is helpful for those types of relationships as well.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.