A guy who tried online dating and had 'nothing to say' launched a startup for 'relationship coaches' that just scored $2 million in funding

A guy who tried online dating and had 'nothing to say' launched a startup for 'relationship coaches' that just scored $2 million in funding


Relationship Hero

Liron Shapira

  • Relationship Hero is an on-demand coaching service that provides customers with dating and relationship advice.
  • Users can call, text, or chat one of the company's 70-full time coaches at any time of day.
  • On Friday, the company announced it raised a $2 million seed round led by Foundation Capital, Village Global, and Shrug Capital.

When Liron Shapira was in his 20s, he relied on dating advice from one of his best friends. He really needed help with online dating.

"I would be looking at the blank wall, thinking like, 'I have nothing to say. How could I possibly say anything interesting?'" Shapira remembers.

His friend would explain to him "there's actually a way to have a natural, funny conversation inside online dating."

Shapira and his friend, Lior Gotesman, realized there were probably plenty of people out there who needed similar help - whether it was getting over the anxieties of dating or working through issues in existing relationships.


The entrepreneurs launched Relationship Hero two years ago to do just that - provide on-demand coaching for anyone looking for dating or relationship advice. The Y Combinator-backed startup now has 70 full-time relationship coaches on staff and on Friday, announced it raised a $2 million seed round led by Foundation Capital, Village Global, and Shrug Capital.

"We're one of those companies that is finding a market that was hiding in plain sight," Shapira told Business Insider in a recent interview. "We're all going to our friends for relationship advice, but where is the equivalent company for that?"

Don't call it therapy

So what does a relationship coach actually do?

The coaches help customers with a mix of dating and relationship advice - from sending an opening one-liner on Tinder to composing a heartfelt email to an ex. Customers range from 18 to 70-years-old and its demographic is split almost exactly even between females and males, according to Shapira.

Users can call, text, or chat a Relationship Hero coach at any time of the day and expect an immediate response. Fees for coaching vary, but the average rate is around $90 per hour.


Coaches all must go through the same intensive training program, but not all have a background in psychology. One coach, for example, was a former accountant.

There's been some pushback by professional therapists who say people should be going to them for relationship advice, Shapira acknowledges. But he doesn't think traditional therapy is the answer.

"If you go to a therapist, they're going to have you focus on yourself - focus internally on your emotions, your own mental state," he says. "And the problem is that relationships are actually very external. It's all about getting the results you want with your partner and with the outside world. And it's a totally different skillset."

Working at Relationship Hero

There are 75 employees at Relationship Hero, and 70 of them are coaches.

"We're basically a team of coaches, with a little bit of overhead," Shapira explains. He says with the company's 20% month-over-month growth, it's continually adding new coaches to its team.


Interestingly, these coaches are full-time employees of Relationship Hero, rather than contractors.

"It's not a marketplace. We're helping invent and ensure the quality of the coaching so we have to own that," Shapira says. "The people who work for us, they're really not independent contractors. We're really strict how they go about the coaching."

When it comes to where and when employees work however, Relationship Hero is very flexible. The company is entirely remote. Coaches live across the US and have flexible schedules which helps the company provide customers with coverage throughout the day.

"It's really hard for people to find quality jobs in middle-America and places where the local economy isn't doing that great. We're offering people a job that's full time, guaranteed, with a steady stream of clients," Shapira tells us. "They also love the work because they get to help people. They can see that they're putting families back together."

As for Shapira, he'll be putting the remote work model to the test next month when he leaves Silicon Valley and moves to upstate New York with his wife.


Shapira met his wife on Tinder three years ago, and thanks to the coaching of his friend and Relationship Hero co-founder, he was able to land a date.

"I met my wife on Tinder all thanks to Lior's help!" Shapira explained. "Afterwards she told me she always flakes on guys, but somehow I convinced her to go on a date. It was a high stakes situation and the coaching was life changing."