On this Valentine’s Day, it is worth remembering that not everyone gets to spend time with their loved ones. Many couples are stuck in long-distance relationships, divided by hundreds or thousands of miles due to remote work, military service or frequent business travel.
Emily Marshall, the founder of Couple Fire, formerly SnuggleCloud, knows that pain all too well. She started the Seattle upstart after her own experiences in a long distance relationship, dating a fella who lived 2,000 miles away in Manzanillo, Mexico.
Today, Marshall and co-founder Kiran Gollu are taking the covers off Couple Fire, launching the new name and a private social network where couples can share their “lovey-dovey things.”
On the site, couples can post photos, quotes, date ideas, vacation plans, memories or what mood they are in. It does this with what the company calls “military grade security.” For those forgetful individuals, it also offers an alert system to remind one of birthdays; anniversaries and other special occasions.
“We created Couple Fire for ourselves,” said Marshall who previously worked at Seattle startup Point Inside “Both Kiran and I have been in long distance relationships. We understand firsthand the limitations of current technology and the difficulty of feeling connected despite the physical distance. We wanted to change that for ourselves and change that for other couples.”
In my last story about the company, Marshall admitted that guys absolutely hated the name of Snuggle Cloud. (Can you imagine a guy telling his friends about this cool, new social network he was using called Snuggle Cloud?)
Last year, Marshall told me this: “We’ve found that the guys go where the gals are, and the gals don’t have a problem with our name.”
(Well, sounds as if there was a compromise worked out on that one, something that’s key to any great relationship whether romantic or startup related.)
Couple Fire is a graduate of the Founder’s Institute incubation program in Seattle, and last year won top honors at a Startup Weekend event. The service is free to use, with Cloud Fire planning to make money by offering services (think romantic getaways or flower shops) to its membership base.
There certainly are no shortage of online dating sites on the market right now. (In fact, I wrote about another new one earlier this week called Like Secret).
Marshall said she didn’t view those so much as competition. But there are sites designed for couples as well, including Tokii and The Icebreak (which designs dates for couples). Pinterest also has a similar bulletin-board concept, she said.
And what about Marshall’s very own long-distance relationship that inspired the startup?
Well, as it turns out Marshall and Lazaro Carrion are engaged and planning a fall wedding. And Couple Fire’s other founder, Kiran Gollu, just got married last summer. Maybe this thing actually works!
Here’s a closer look at how the service works.