Usually you hear about startups moving from Europe to Silicon Valley, New York, or London, but you rarely hear about a startup from Northern England moving to Copenhagen, even if temporarily. But after talking with Cupple co-founder Tim Allison, you're left wondering why more startups don't take more working holidays in other European cities.
We'll get more into Cupple later in the post, but a quick description of Cupple is that it's a private sharing app for iOS that allows people in a relationship to share thoughts and moments with each other when they're apart. The app allows couples to send messages, photos, check into places, and share stickers with each other.
We covered startups summer holiday plans in an earlier post today, but I think Cupple's summer plans make a lot of sense on a personal and business development level. Some external factors led the Cupple team to choose to move to Copenhagen for three months or so, but Allison says that once they had it in their minds, moving to Copenhagen seemed like such an obvious decision.
"At the start of this year we looked at it, and I was like well, everything we are doing is digital and mobile. I've got a good network and there's a healthy startup scene in Newcastle, but there comes a time when you've got to reach out and explore different networks if you want to expand and if you want to learn more about what you're doing," says Allison.
Now that they're set up in Founders' House, Allison's goals are to understand the Scandinavian startup scene more, meet new people, and plug into an area with a different skills set. Scandinavia is known for their mobile and design prowess, so it may not be a bad area for Cupple to find a UI interaction designer. As a bootstrapped startup, Allison has also found moving to Copenhagen has been a great way to connect with new investors.
In just the few weeks he's been in Copenhagen, Allison says that he's had a lot of great business development experiences. He gives the example that recently a guy that does reviews for Good Morning Denmark was looking at private sharing products, and some people at Founders House tipped them off to Cupple.
"A few tweets later, I'm talking to this guy who may be reviewing Cupple on TV tomorrow morning. I feel that people talk about serendipity and fate and chance or whatever, but once you start being productive and just speaking to people you realize that it has a knock-on effect. That's really cool for us ... and you get into situations where you realize 'that wound't have happened at home.'"
The app can be seen somewhat as a backlash to Facebook's privacy failings, or to oversharing, or accidental sharing in broader social networks. "It's almost a counterculture," Allison says. "You just realize we've spent the last five years building social networks. And we're going to spend the next five years working out why."
Cupple's goal is to harness today's technology to build a really meaningful timeline of content through a mobile app. Texts and email have a really impersonal or "work" feel, so Cupple hopes to build a unique experience though a timeline of messages, photos, and other features.
One such feature is checkins. Cupple has built another layer on top of Foursquare by allowing users to tag their checkins as a place they've been, so you can kind of let your significant other know where you are. There's also an aspirational tag, for places you go to, but want to return with your significant other. Or you can tag a place as some place you and your significant other have been before.
Allison describes their stickers feature as "emoticons for the 21st century" but function kind of like labels and badges you can send each other. These include things like, "feeding time," "man at work," and "you're a diamond."
Cupple is currently working on an update for the beginning of July that should include another significant feature. The app can be found in the app store, here.