A new Seattle startup says it’s about to offer a way for couples to gamble on whether or not they really found everlasting love.
The premise is simple: you apply if you’re about to get married and think your partnership is built to last. SwanLuv looks at your relationship, forms its own opinions, and then selects certain couples for a loan up to $10,000.
If you and your spouse live happily ever after, you never have to pay back the money. But if you someday get divorced, you have to pay back the original amount — plus interest.
SwanLuv CEO Scott Avy says it’s like a casino for marriages. His company will look at the statistics, survey potential couples and give higher interest rates to the stronger relationships in order to “protect ourselves as a company.”
He says he doesn’t hope any marriage ends in divorce, but the fact is that some will.
“It comes back to statistics,” Avy said. “We’ll have the right odds so we’ll be OK. But they won’t be so crazy that no one wants to do it.”
For the couples, Avy said it gives them a chance to gamble on themselves, instead of a roll of the dice. He added that many couples will probably decide not to take the loan. But even that could raise an important question: “Should we be getting married if we’re not willing to sign up?”
“It really depends on where you are in your relationship,” Avy said. “I’m betting on my relationship I’ve established with my soulmate. … It’s going to be a no-brainer for the ones it makes sense for.”
Avy added there will be a few other stipulations in the contract, like a clause that makes one person responsible for the entire debt if a marriage ends because of abuse. They’re also working on a way to offer their couples free marriage counseling, just to help them beat the odds.
SwanLuv’s two co-founders are the only people working for the company right now, but Avy says they’re already talking to a big group of angel investors who seem interested in helping scale the business. He declined to comment on whether or not the six-month-old startup has raised any outside funding yet.
This isn’t Avy’s first time in the startup trenches. His LinkedIn page shows this is the fourth business he’s founded, along with mobile app development company Attack Touch, app analytics company Yslides and SnapDare, which is a combination of Snapchat and truth or dare.
SwanLuv is certainly an unusual — and potentially controversial — business model, but Avy said the math adds up.
SwanLuv is taking applications now and hopes to begin making its first payments this February, once it has time to finish raising outside funding. It may take years for the company to see returns, but Avy said eventually couples will start to break up and he’s confident SwanLuv will become profitable.
When asked about criticisms for essentially gambling on peoples’ lives, Avy said he understands that point of view but he’s only heard positive feedback so far.
“They’re signing up for it,” he said. “We’re not forcing them. It’s all by choice.”