What’s Next with the winner of Collision’s PITCH 2021: Tim Johnson of Couply

Casey Lau
5 min readApr 30, 2021

Congrats to Collision 2021’s PITCH winner Couply. I had a quick chat with co-founder Tim Johnson on Racket a week after he won, and here is the edited transcription of that audio chat.

Casey: Hey Tim, what is Couply?

Tim: Couply is the app for couples. There’s lots of apps out there as we know that help people get into a relationship, but none once they are together. So essentially what Couply does is tackle this really interesting problem, and we’re doing that in a few different ways. The first way is that we get people to take personality quizzes, and this allows you to kind of see what your personality type is, your love language, the color wheel, if you’re introverted, extroverted, not just that, but then you see your partners, and then building on that we send custom date ideas, relationship advice, all based on your partner’s personality.

So the entire app delivers this personalized and completely custom experience for our members. We’ve got a few more features as well, like anniversary reminders and birthday reminders. The whole thing about the app is we want to drive people to actually take action. We want people to book dates and do the thing with their partner. And they can do this right from the app too. So you can literally get a date idea that’s based on your partner’s personality type. Oh, this looks great. Okay, cool. This awesome blindfolded baking date with me and my partner. That’s going to be fun. And then I can click and book the time with my partner Saturday morning, we’re doing this fun activity together. We’re going to get a little bit silly and it’ll start the weekend off. And that’s that’s Couply in a nutshell.

Casey: That sounds amazing. I think that was a more interesting summary than the actual pitch that you did because I learned more about it now giving you more time to explain it. So what was some of the challenges that you have faced pitching in a competition?

Tim: The first thing is the way that the competition was structured was there were three different rounds. So you had the 30-second round, the one-minute round, then the two-minute round. So the way I thought about it was like, okay, my goal was to try and get through each round. So give enough of a teaser in the 30-second pitch to pull people through, to make them listen to that one minute pitch and then try and end on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Casey: So we had over a thousand startups in the conference. We shortlisted PITCH to around 60. And then coming to the quarter-finals, there’s only nine teams in there and they’re all from different verticals and from all different parts of the world. You don’t get the same kind of reaction doing this live as you did online. So is it easier?

Tim: You don’t see anything, which I think is like much, much easier, right? It’s much easier because you’re just doing this at home. You’re practicing again and again, again, into the camera. I mean, you just had me talk about Couply. I think I misspoke about six times in that short a minute and a half.

I misspeak a lot and so I could re-practice over and over again, and really drill that pitch down until I was like, okay, I think this is good. And I’m happy with that. I haven’t made any mistakes and then share it, doing it live was going to be exciting. You’re going to make little mistakes, but I think that’s fine, but the big thing is that when you do something live, you can really connect. You can see that person that’s nodding or you see when they frown or when they don’t get something and you can twist and turn your words or direct your attention to someone and kind of nod with them and try and get them bought in.

Casey: But you still got investors reaching out to you based off of this online pitch. What kind of conversations are you having now?

Tim: Investors are really curious and they want to learn more. They want to dive in a little bit deeper into the product. When we had that two minute pitch, you had to talk about the team, the market why you think this would work and you don’t really get to kind of show off the features that make your product cool.

So those are the questions that investors have. They really want to kind of have a look under the hood and be like, okay, how’s this working? What do you define as a member? When do people download ? What is the real big problem that you’re solving. These are the kinds of questions that they’re asking.

Casey: I think that getting an investor to follow up is the most important part of the pitch. It doesn’t matter how fancy the pitch is, but you have to like draw the curiosity and just get them to think: Wow, this is exciting! So, it’s a balance of the team. It’s a balance of the market you’re going into and probably even the judges and what’s in their mindset as well. So these are all things that are balanced together when doing the pitch. So what is the most difficult question you’re getting right now from investors?

Tim: The hardest question that we’ve had from investors is: what is the trigger? What is the trigger for when people download this app? When people download a dating app, it’s because they’re single and they got that problem to solve when they go to couples therapy.

It’s because things are really in trouble and they’ve got a problem to solve. So what is the trigger that people download the app? And I was just completely speechless. I was like, well, that’s a really, really good question. Let me think about that. And this is when it’s so great that you have your co-founder on the call because they’re like: “Hey Tim, remember that conversation we had with that member?”

And then we could kind of like pivot and say, “Hey, it’s, it’s actually kind of when you’re out of that honeymoon period. This is when you’ve met on an app and you’ve kind of gone through that first year or two years of your relationship.

And, relationships tend to get hard. That is something that I think we all experience and that’s totally normal. And that’s the point when you’re like, it would actually be kind of good if maybe there is something out there that can help us and just keep us on track or learn more about each other.

So we need to massage that a little bit and make that answer a little bit better, but that was a tough question.

Casey: Yeah. Great. And so if you people want to check it out, they can download it where?

Tim: You can go to Couply or check us out on the App Store on Google Play and iOS.

Listen to our chat as a Racket and follow me there for more audio chats.

Here is the full exit interview with Tim at Collisionconf.com

Listen to my podcast RISE Offstage on Apple Podcasts or Spotify Podcasts.

Collision returns June 20–23, 2022 — tickets available now.



Casey Lau

thoughts on everything from startup ecosystems, conferences, anime, video games, comic books, digital entertainment to cats and ninjas.