Ex-Googlers launch Avocado, Web and mobile apps for couples, to rival Pear (sorry, Pair)

Ex-Googlers launch Avocado, Web and mobile apps for couples, to rival Pear (sorry, Pair)

We’ve seen our fair share of smartphone apps and services that cater exclusively to couples. The latest entrant is Avocado, and it is backed by a number of US investors like Baseline Ventures, General Catalyst and Lightspeed Ventures.

More interestingly, behind the venture are former Googlers and husband-and-wife team Chris Wetherell (of Google Reader and Brizzly fame) and Jenna Bilotta (who previously worked on UX design for Gmail, Google Reader and YouTube).

The other two co-founders are Taylor Hughes (also ex-YouTube) and Rizwan Sattar (formerly at AOL, to which Brizzly parent company Thing Labs was sold).

Avocado is today launching with a personal communication service that works across iOS and Android devices and the Web, enabling couples to stay connected wherever they go – as long as they’re connected of course.

If you’re also following this space, your immediate thoughts were probably “wasn’t Pair doing something of the sort?” The answer is yes, and so are Duet, Cupple, Between and others. So what makes Avocado unique?

We asked Wetherell just that, and he responded thusly:

It looks like some of these have similar features but with Avocado we seem to be the only ones focusing on both the security and the experience design overall – everything a couple already does awkwardly with multiple apps will get better in how it feels and how it works in a place that’s designed just for them.

Since this space is very new, no one has yet delivered the world’s best experience for a couple. That’s what we think we can do for everyone. We’ll be focused on adding delight to the real-world things people already do every day.

The fact that Avocado will works just as well on the Web as on a smartphone is a testament to that vision, Wetherell adds.

Avocado offers identity verification and advanced encryption features, and blocks impersonators from creating false accounts, to keep the “playful exchanges meant only for your partner” safely in the right hands.

This is the main difference with social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, which offer similar functionalities but were not designed to be used exclusively between ‘significant others’, and where deeply personal communication and media like photos, videos and ‘funny face headshots’ often (voluntarily or otherwise) end up being seen by the wrong people (hi, Mom!).

The smartphone apps cost $1.99; the Web app can be used free of charge.

To date, Avocado has raised $1.3 million in seed funding from the aforementioned VC firms and angel investors like Steve Olechowski and Greg Yaitanes.

So why the name Avocado? Also interesting: apparently, avocado trees only bear fruit when growing near a mate. Cute.

➤ Avocado for iPhone (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

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