Why this husband-wife duo founded a startup focused on improving relationships

Mumbai-based Life Quest, founded by husband-wife duo Rashi Jain and Rohan Shah, uses a community-focused approach to help manage, maintain, and improve relationships.
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Dating apps and matrimonial websites can help people find their match, but what happens after that? 

Rashi Jain and Rohan Shah, married for more than eight years, faced several relationship challenges, including communication issues, intimacy, in-law troubles, parenting, and more. They realised that maintaining strong relationships required physical, emotional, and attentional nurturing, but there weren't many options that help you do that. 

The problems became even more apparent amid the pandemic, with people locked in at home and growing increasingly frustrated with the situation. 

Rashi, a trained freelance counsellor with MA in Psychology from IGNOU, and Rohan, a believer and practitioner of rational and fact-based decision-making to solve problems, realised that they had used rational and psychological approaches to overcome their problems and strengthen their bond. 

The couple decided to use this approach to help others struggling with relationships and rapport, and launched Mumbai-based Life Quest Clubs in 2021. The app uses a community-focused approach to help manage, maintain, and improve all relationships – romantic, family, friends, work, and more. 

At Life Quest, Rohan (CEO) is responsible for customer relationship, overall strategy, product development and funding while Rashi (Chief Counsellor) takes care of building, retaining, and training the counselling team. 

How it works

After downloading the app, users must complete a quick signup process that takes 30 seconds. It’s possible to choose a pseudonym or nickname to keep their identity hidden. 

The signup leads to the community chat group, Vent Out, where they can see conversations between members and Life Quest moderators, share relationship issues/problems, and speak to moderators. 

Vent Out helps even those who are not participating as they can learn from the problems of others and realise that there are others in the same boat. The group is monetised through direct and indirect ads. 

Every new user gets five minutes of free private chat on becoming a member of the Life Quest community. The Vent Out group and free private chat allow them to experience the product before committing to it by purchasing private chat minutes. 

Private chats are available 24/7; these sessions are between a user and a trained Life Quest counsellor or relationship coach. Users can buy minute bundles to have a one-on-one session with a Life Quest counsellor and relationship coach. These are priced at Rs 299 (15 minutes), Rs 399 (30 minutes), Rs 499 (45 minutes), and Rs 599 (60 minutes). 

A Life Quest counsellor joins the chat in under 60 seconds after one clicks on Start Chat. This private chat session can be ended whenever the user wants. 

Life Quest app screenshot

Users also get free access to sponsored virtual events hosted by the Life Quest team along with relationship experts. They can register for upcoming events (on a range of topics like intimacy, love, parental bonding, and family relationships) that are hosted by external experts or trained Life Quest experts. Case studies are shared, questions are welcomed, and members can choose to remain anonymous. 

Past events are recorded and uploaded on the app for members to watch later. 

The platform has 15 full-time coaches as of now.

Rohan says counsellors in India are not paid well because of very few job opportunities. “Every year, 15,000 students acquire an MA in psychology and specialise in a specific field, say child psychology, CBT, relationships, and more. But very few companies employ these students. The situation is so bad that they have to pay for their internships.”

This enables Life Quest to recruit qualified counsellors and train them to deliver solutions “and offer customer delight at reasonable prices”. 

Business model and revenue

The community chat and events are free products that help users experience the services, engage with the community, and build trust. These users are acquired through online ads, partnerships, and referrals. The free services are monetised through advertisements and brand sponsorships. 

Private chat is the paid feature, which is where the startup makes money. Launched in July 2022, the startup claims to have had 50 paid private chats in the first week of launch.

So far, Life Quest has 13,000 Android users and 8,000 iOS users. It says it has made Rs 5 lakh in revenue since 2021. 

Rohan says, “During this period we were focused on establishing product-market fit. The current retention and engagement numbers are proof of PMF, which is a must for efficient monetisation.”

Since July 5, Life Quest decided to put “razor-sharp focus on monetisation and sustainable user growth, creating a fine balance between growth and profitability”.

Funding and the way ahead

The founders invested Rs 60 lakh to launch the company, and plan to soon put in another Rs 20 lakh. 

In 2021, Life Quest took a revenue-based funding line from Getvantage. This was repaid in full within due timelines. 

Life Quest plans to raise between $1 million to $1.5 million in the last quarter of 2022. The funds will be used to:

● Improve, innovate, and build a better product 

● Work on branding and user growth 

● Recruit top talent to scale up 

The global online dating application market size was valued at $7.05 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent from 2021 to 2028. 

According to Statista research, the Indian dating industry's revenue was $323 million in 2020, and that number is expected to grow at a steady pace.

Rohan states, “We believe people who use dating apps will at some point have problems in their relationship and will need Life Quest. Hence, our addressable market size is $323 million. At the same time, there is a huge untapped market for married couples’ counselling, but there are no credible benchmarks to measure this segment’s market size as there are few products focused on relationship issues.”

Private relationship counsellors Love Nudge, Coral, and AstroTalk are among the players operating in this sector. However, what differentiates LifeQuest is the fact that it offers instant counselling, a pay-as-you-go model, and anonymity. 

“Astro talk provides spiritual guidance on topics like relationships, careers, health, etc. But Life Quest is a relationship-focused platform that provides solutions backed by science and research,” Rohan says. 

Edited by Teja Lele