The Cynical Startup That Gets Paid When Couples Split Up

SwanLuv loans out money for dream weddings, but makes couples pay them back if they split up. Stronger couples pay higher interest rates.

December 16, 2015

Brand new startup SwanLuv might be the most cynical company I’ve ever heard of. They loan people money for their dream wedding… and then wait for their dreams to crumble. Only divorcees pay back the loan.

Here’s how it works:

Couples who want to get married register on SwanLuv’s website. Their data gets analyzed and SwanLuv decides whether they’ll give them a $10,000 loan.

If the couple stays married they don’t pay back the money. But if they divorce they pay it all back, plus interest.

It’s like a “casino for marriages,” SwanLuv CEO Scott Avy told Geekwire. In order for his business model to work, he said, the couples that seem most likely to last will have higher interest rates on their loan. That way SwanLuv can “protect (itself) as a company.”

“It comes back to statistics,” Avy said. “We’ll have the right odds so we’ll be OK. But they won’t be so crazy that no one wants to do it.” Avy said the process might be a reality check for some couples. They might reconsider if they should really get married. But for other couples, he said, it would be a “no-brainer.”

“It really depends on where you are in your relationship,” Avy said. “I’m betting on my relationship I’ve established with my soul mate.”

The SwanLuv loan contract includes clauses to protect people who accidentally get married to jerks. For instance, a clause that makes one person responsible for paying the debt if the marriage ends because they physically abused their partner.

SwanLuv is also planning to offer marriage counseling. But given that it’s in their favor for relationships to fail, I’m not sure I’d take them up on it.

Avy and his co-founder are the only employees, but they say they’re talking to a group of angel investors who are interested in helping them scale the business.

With one in three marriages ending in divorce, SwanLuv might be looking at a goldmine. One built on human misery…

Note: There’s also a possibility that SwanLuv is a viral stunt created to promote Avy’s other ventures. So make sure you read this with a healthy dose of doubt. Either way, it makes you think about the value we place on marriage… and if we’d bet on its survival.

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