Get to know a Toronto startup: 2life
Dinners, gatherings, budgets, schedules groceries, pets, laundry - these are just some of the things modern couples have to share. There's a lot to manage and miscommunications can be a big headache. Just ask anyone who's partner has ever forgotten about dinner with the in-laws.
Launched in the App Store this month and already with more than 50,000 downloads, the 2life app is a secure tool for any duo looking to communicate and coordinate their shared world using a mobile device. The app offers a space for private chat, calendars and lists (for groceries or packing for your next trip, for example), a journal feature, and a hub for sharing web links and photos. Each user also has a personal profile where they can list handy, but often overlooked, details like shoe or clothing size.
Right now, every download using the promo code #powerof2 also comes with a heartwarming bonus: 2life will donate $1 to Dare to Wear Love in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation's commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa, with the goal of raising $25K.
Before launching 2life, founders Neil Morton and Diane Hall spent a decade running a gender-neutral lifestyle media brand and magazine specializing in relationships. This app was a natural next step. Diane explains how the 2life app aims to smooth out communication bumps on the road of coupledom.
What inspired you to create the 2life app?
As far back as 2008, we had the idea that couples needed an easy way to coordinate their lives together even when they were apart: a communication tool with a calendar, shared lists and so on. I found that the communications with my husband were getting lost amongst the clutter of emails, voicemails and appointments, and that a new tool was needed to consolidate everything. We explored the possibility of building a website-based tool, but back then, the technology was just too clunky.
Fast forward through gigantic technological leaps, the proliferation of mobile devices, and cultural shifts brought about by social media, and the problem had worsened. My communications with my husband were lost among multiple streams of content, and other twosomes were echoing our frustrations. Technology had finally caught up, allowing us to build this.
How does the app generate revenue for your business?
Our monetization strategy is a combination of in-app purchases and advertising in the content and shopping sections of the app. We have a history of magazine publishing, so have a lot of experience with tastefully combining content and advertising.
The app is free with access to all features (chat, calendar, in-app browser and link sharing, 3 active lists, 20 uploaded photos, 2 journal entries, plus our content: date night, 2life daily blog, 2life magazine, and more). For an annual fee of $9.99 for 1 joint account, users can upgrade to 2life Premium for unlimited lists, photos and journal entries.
Who are your competitors? What makes 2life stand out?
We are competing with other private social networking apps such as Between and Couple. These apps are an emerging market. In a way, we're also competing with Facebook in that we are hoping that users will redirect some of their screen time from it and other social media to spend more time sharing with the person who matters most to them within the 2life app.
We've designed 2life to have broad appeal: it's the app for your most important relationship, as defined by you. It could be your partner, your best friend, your mother, your sister, or your work colleague.
What kind of couples would really love using this app?
We believe that 2life can help couples entering new life stages adjust to their new circumstances: getting married, buying a first home, planning major projects, becoming new parents, or entering retirement, for example. In these situations, couples have a lot of new activity over and above their regular routine. The app helps them stay organized and feel connected in a private space. It's also useful to help couples in long-distance relationships or traveling on business to stay connected.
We also realized the app has tremendous value and potential to other twosomes. For example, one woman I spoke to said she'd love to share the app with her brother to coordinate looking after their aging parent. Another example: 2life developer Tim Mitra and I actually used the app to build the app!
What has been your biggest challenge in getting ready to hit the market?
Most apps do one thing, but 2life does many. There is a lot of functionality: chat, photos, calendar, lists, web browser, journals, content...it's really multiple apps in one. This made it very challenging to build. But we also believe it will make it an essential part of users' daily lives. Setting up the servers and encrypting data to ensure that the network is private, secure and scalable was also a major undertaking.
What do you think of the app? Will you give it a try?