There may be no better time for working on your relationship then when you and your partner are stuck in quarantine together. Relish, the AI, customizable relationship training app, helps long-term couples (1+ years) strengthen and repair their relationship. Relish uses AI and experienced relationship coaches to create an improvement plan that includes interactive lessons and engaging activities. Relish currently offers over 300 relationship lessons and improvement plans adapt dynamically based on the needs of you and your partner. An annual membership for Relish is $99.99 for two people, which includes unlimited messaging with a professional relationship coach.
Alleywatch caught up with serial entrepreneur, CEO, and Cofounder Lesley Eccles (Eccles co-founded FanDuel with her husband) to learn more about Relish’s future plans and recent funding round, which brings the company’s total funding to $7.2M since its founding in 2018.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The $5M Series A funding round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from previous investors, Trinity Ventures and Bullpen Capital.
Tell us about the product or service that Relish offers.
Relish is the first-ever truly customized relationship training app that makes it easy to build a happy, healthy, more connected relationship with your partner. 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 to support you when you need them.
The idea for Relish came about in the months after I left FanDuel, at the end of 2017. Many of us felt pretty broken after our experience at FanDuel (you can read more about that in Albert Chen’s new book, Billion Dollar Fantasy) and I realized that the only thing that kept us all sane through the period was the strength of our relationships with each other in the team, with our partners, our family, and our friends. That’s what’s important in life. Whenever I had issues in my relationship with my husband (who I cofounded FanDuel with), I didn’t really have anywhere to go for advice on what to do, so I turned to self-help books. I wanted to find a way to use technology to make that process easier, better, and affordable. I wanted to use technology for good – to bring people together, help them build deeper connections with each other, and ultimately get more affection and intimacy.
How is Relish different?
Relish stands out amongst competitors with its unlimited, one-on-one support from qualified relationship coaches and its truly customized relationship plans. Relish values human connection, so the app includes unlimited messaging with highly experienced coaches, interactive quizzes, journaling, and a supportive and thriving community.
What market does Relish target and how big is it?
Relish’s ideal user is someone in a long-term relationship (1+ years) who is open to working on themselves and on their relationship. They understand the value of that and are committed to improving their communication and deepening their connection with their partner. They also understand that being more conscious of their mindset is the first step to a healthy and intimate relationship. Users can use Relish at their own pace either together or alone.
What’s your business model?
Relish’s annual membership is $99.99 for two people.
How has the business changed since we spoke at Relish’s launch?
It’s continued to grow at pace. We’ve introduced new quarantine-relevant lessons and activities as a response to the current environment. We’ve seen a bifurcation of our customers into those who are finding that quarantine has slowed their pace down, brought them closer and they want to spend more time learning about one another; and those for whom quarantine feels more like a pressure cooker and the cracks in their relationship have become deeper and its more obvious they need help.
Also, due to the success we’ve seen since we launched in the US in September, we released the app in the UK back in February 2020.
What was the funding process like?
Given the circumstances (negotiating the deal as the pandemic hit and the stock market crashed) I would say it was very straightforward. Thankfully we had kicked the process off at the start of the year, before the virus had really changed anything, and had a lot of interest, which meant that it was a relatively short process.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Apart from a global pandemic and a stock market crash, nothing. 🙂
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Bessemer Venture Partners was very excited about our delightful, mission-driven approach to helping more individuals and couples get the early intervention they need to live their happiest lives together – by democratizing access to self-improvement and coaching tools. Also, if we hadn’t been in a category that was clearly even more needed than ever during this current pandemic, it would have definitely been harder to get it over the line given the timing of our negotiations.
Also, if we hadn’t been in a category that was clearly even more needed than ever during this current pandemic, it would have definitely been harder to get it over the line given the timing of our negotiations.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Expanding the engineering team and launching internationally.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It very much depends on the business that they’re in, but if they’re not pandemic proof, then I would say prepare for it to be a long time before you’re able to rely on new external funding and to focus on getting to profitability as soon as possible.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after-work drink?
Right now, it’s my kitchen. But I do love Oscar Wilde’s.
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