How We Started a
Relationship Care And Building App
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
I founded Keeepr, the app to help keep relationships strong, and Vidya joined as a co-founder after meeting Hubertus through the Uber alumni network. In short, Keeepr is an app that helps people be better partners, friends, and family members.
Keeepr makes it easier to prioritize your relationships. When people get busy they tend to forget that they need to make gestures showing their loved ones how special they are. With important date reminders, gift recommendations, activity ideas, and relationship advice, users will get that little nudge they need to make these gestures. Keeepr takes away the decision paralysis or lack of knowledge that can often cause friction.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
Hubertus: As a busy professional, I didn’t prioritize my own relationship, which ultimately ended in heartbreak. I realized afterwards that there were a million little things I could have done to make my partner feel special. I vowed not to make the same mistake in my next relationship, but I didn’t know where to start. I looked for tools to help me and could not find any. I decided to create such a tool and that’s when Keeepr was born.
One of my all-time favourite interests and hobbies till today is my love for music. My interest and passion for music started at a young age while being at a boarding school which specialized in music production, and there I learned the skill of playing the piano at the age of 12.
The pandemic has made clear that our relationships — partners, family, and friends — are crucial. It’s easy to take these relationships for granted in good times. Now, when times are tough, we are all leaning on our loved ones to get us through. But these relationships need to be nurtured over time, with many actions big and small, to show people how important they are to us.
That’s where Keeepr offers value, giving people date night ideas, gift recommendations, reminders for important personal events, and advice for being a better partner, family member, and friend. We’re eager to get feedback from initial users about what features they enjoy and how we can iterate on that.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
Keeepr has been bootstrapped from the beginning, so one of our biggest challenges was to build this app on a tight budget. We work with an agency to develop the app, and they’ve been great partners. But it’s challenging for us not to have in-house dev resources (If you’re interested in joining us, reach out!). And because we live in the relationship management, wellness and e-commerce spaces, we have a lot of competitors.
There are apps for reminders, there are apps for gifts, there are apps for relationship therapy. Our goal is to create an app that encompasses and replaces all of these, making Keeeprs’ relationship lives more organized. That’s a lofty goal and it can sometimes be difficult to prioritize. Fundraising, especially in the midst of a global pandemic when it’s harder to build relationships with funders, is also challenging.
Who is your target market?
Our target market is busy people, ages 25-44, who are in early-stage relationships. We create content for all types of relationships, but initially, we want to reach people who are interested in better connecting with their partners. We also launched specifically in New York and San Francisco.
While people anywhere in the US can use Keeepr, some of the activity recommendations, like date-night restaurants, are location-based. As we grow and scale, we hope to provide city-specific recommendations all over the country.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Since we just launched in beta in August, we have not spent resources on marketing and we’re still developing our marketing roadmap. We’ve been able to attract users organically, and through promoting on our individual social channels.
Additionally, Keeepr was recently featured in Apple’s “apps we love right now,” which resulted in incredible downloads and engagement. We’ve also been featured on BizBytes and ProductHunt. As a result, Keeepr is growing faster than the Tinder app when it first launched.
We’re currently focused on implementing user feedback and making the app even better, but in the future, we’ll be creating SEO content, creating social video, and creating paid ads for social.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We’re still evaluating what’s working and what isn’t, but content is the main way we engage with our Keeeps. We have a regular cadence of relationship advice and are consistently adding new gift and activity ideas.
We also survey our early adopters to understand what new features they want, so that Keeepr can be the most useful relationship app out there. We want to be really thoughtful in how we engage our users, giving them inspiration for their relationships while also respecting the fact that they are busy individuals.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We’re a newly launched startup with just two people and a few advisors. We have a transnational distributed team, and we stay in touch via Whatsapp team threads and regular Zoom meetings. Our culture is one of mutual respect, clear communication and separate responsibilities.
Our advisors each bring something special to the table, and we deeply value their experience and wisdom. We encourage everyone to dream big and share their ideas to make Keeepr a must-have app for happy relationships.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
Being in such an early stage, we only use a few tools — Zoom for meetings, Google Suite for organization and information sharing, and Mailchimp for CRM. All other processes are manual. Work on proprietary software is in process, but we’re not ready to share that information yet!
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
- Getting the right people on board. Finding advisors with the right mix of contacts and expertise makes a world of difference. Without having that initially, we made a lot of decisions that didn’t pan out and lost us valuable time and money.
- Getting in-house tech expertise. Right now, we work with an agency. The relationship has been great, but without an engineer on the team, small updates take a lot more effort.
- Make sure you have a diverse team. Whether it’s leadership, advisors, or employees, make sure you have different voices represented — and that you listen to those voices. We aim to make Keeepr an app that’s relevant for all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, and that means making sure you have those perspectives included in ideating and decision-making.
- Believe in yourself and your project. A lot of people will tell you your company won’t succeed or just tell you “no”. You need to be confident enough to keep pushing through, and humble enough to know when you should stop and listen.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Hubertus: I always had an entrepreneurial drive and I’m a full-on risk-taker. At the age of 24, I founded my first company in Berlin which was a distribution company for digital content, mostly music and video content. After two years of operations, I successfully merged the company with a larger competitor. Then I joined two e-commerce venture builders and Uber.
Now I’m finally back with a new startup concept and will follow my dreams till the end. With Keeepr, Vidya and I realize that nothing is more important than maintaining strong relationships, and that’s even more evident in times of crisis. We want to help make that easier for people, and building towards a mission like that is incredibly rewarding.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The least favorite aspect is working without an income and having no safety net. We both previously held corporate jobs where there was a sense of stability. The team is just the two of us with the help of a few advisors, so every aspect of the company is on us. That’s a lot of pressure!
Also, due to COVID, we have not been able to work together in person, which can be beneficial when you are first starting.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
We are just getting started! In the future, we’d like to be a regular part of people’s lives. People use wearables to help track and maintain their health, why not use a relationship app to track the health of their relationships?
We’d love to be able to connect people to the right resources to keep their relationship strong — think getting text advice from relationship coaches — be the go-to app for the perfect personalized gift recommendations, and reward people for being better partners, friends and family members through gamification.
We want to see large-scale adoption, with people adding their friends and significant others to the app. From a logistical standpoint, we plan to have a strong team of core employees distributed around the country and be bringing in steady revenue.