Once you move beyond Tinder and actually go on more than one date with someone it can get hard to come up with new ideas time and time again.
Looking to keep couples excited throughout their relationship journey is Spark, a new startup that takes the hassle out of date night by providing exclusive experiences for you and your partner to enjoy each month.
Founded by Josh DeNutte the idea for Spark was born out of the dissatisfaction Josh and his wife had experienced trying to maintain a weekly date night or as Josh put it, “we didn’t want to become one of those couple who settle for “date night” at home with Netflix and takeaway or dinner at the same pub each week”.
In addition, Josh recognised that it can be time consuming and frustrating to plan a unique date each week. In fact, while trying to plan a date, Josh’s wife just said, “why can’t someone just plan date night for us?” and that’s where the wheels for Spark started turning.
To make sure it wasn’t a problem unique to them Josh reached out over 100 couples and the feedback was overwhelming. They were crying out for better dates and an easier way to plan them. This is one area of advice that Josh offers up to other startup founders. As Josh went onto say, “a lot of founders struggle with this and think they need to keep their idea a secret, but you’ll never know if whether or not you’re truly on to something unless you talk to people about it.”
With the core of the problem validated, and restaurants and venues also keen to support providing unique experiences, Josh decided to apply to the Xcelerate Accelerator Program. As a non-technical founder he chose Xcelerate, which is run by Blue Chilli, because of the past success they have had with startups. In particular the dedicated product / design / development team they put in place for startups that are accepted into the accelerator program provides a compelling point of difference compared to other accelerator programs.
As Josh went onto say within their first week of the Xcelerate program this structure had allowed them to confirm 3 pilot partners and line up the launch of their first product the following week. In fact, “It’s faster than I ever expected, which makes it exciting and scary at the same time. But I’m confident we have something that couples are really going to love.”
In addition to the design and technical expertise one of the biggest takeaways from the Xcelerate program has been to “always be pitching”. Josh notes that you need to have a solid 30 and 60 second pitch and be confident in being able to deliver it for different audiences. For example, when Josh was speaking with someone about Spark they happened to know someone at a large business who could help his business grow exponentially. This introduction wouldn’t have happened if Josh hadn’t received that advice about pitching and to be confident in delivering.
Looking forward Spark aim to monitor the progress of their MVP over the first three months in order to understand what users love (and don’t love) about the product. From there Josh says Spark will focus on growth and help future couples see the value that Spark brings to their relationship.
The plan is to develop Spark into a global platform and as such Josh envisages raising additional capital within 12 months.