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Ex-Tinder CEO launches AI relationship advice app in NZ, Aus and Finland

After holding senior positions at Apple and Headspace, the ex-CEO of Tinder is launching her very own AI-powered relationship advice app, Meeno, exclusively in New Zealand, Australia, and Finland.

All the way in San Francisco, Renate Nyborg tells me the pathway to create her own relationship advice app, dubbed Meeno, seemed obvious after holding senior positions at Apple, Headspace, and Tinder.

After her time as Chief Executive at Tinder, Nyborg at first thought of moving out of the tech space, even contemplating working at Disney, the only place she sent her CV to after leaving the role.

But tech entrepreneur Andrew Ng, the one behind Google Brain, the artificial intelligence team at Google told Nyborg that “something big is going to happen with large language models”.

“I gave him a long list of all the reasons that I didn’t believe tech could help anymore and why I was thinking about just going back into the real world to do something else. He gave me a brilliant pitch, which is like, ‘Look, if you’ve been trying to solve this for 20 years, isn’t it worth three months to see if maybe this time it could be different?’,” explains Nyborg.

“I was planning to take a year off, but I was just blown away by some of the things that we saw during that initial prototyping phase.”

Nyborg has always been passionate about mindfulness and mental health and during her time at Tinder, saw the effects that the pandemic was creating on people in terms of social relationships and skill development, especially within Gen Z.

Having seen this first-hand, Nyborg was inspired to create Meeno, a relationship education app powered by AI, resonating with everyone as relationships are part of human nature.

Read more: The AI fatigue: are we getting tired of artificial intelligence

Though the app is AI-powered, Nyborg says the term is nowhere in the pitch deck as it focuses on building based on user experiences and experts to ensure the app provides actionable advice that is all about enhancing relationships.

Renate Nyborg.

The AI aspect makes the app more private, accessible, 24/7, and non-judgemental.

“Meeno is not a clinical app, it’s not intended as a therapy app, my comparison is it’s like Remy from Ratatouille. It’s a friendly helper that just happens to know everything about relationships and is something that really resonates with people,” adds Nyborg.

With Meeno, Nyborg hopes to address the gap that is rising as the demand for clinicians and therapists outstrips the availability, leaving nine in 10 people between the ages of 18 to 34 to rely on Google, YouTube, social media, and more for advice that is often not backed by experts.

“Essentially if nine in 10 people are already doing it, I think they’re going to have a much better experience with Meeno that’s actually purpose-built and informed by experts and then monitored carefully,” she says.

Already, the percentage of men between the ages of 18 to 34 using ChatGPT for relationship advice is significantly higher in New Zealand than in the US, making the decision to launch here a no-brainer.

With a demographic already burgeoning within the use of AI, Meeno is a more efficient app focused on relationship instances, rather than the large language model that is ChatGPT where advice can be too broad.

And unlike other relationship-centric apps where at most times are deleted after a short period of time, Meeno is focusing on the fact that relationships are always here and are an app that is to stay.

“We’re not a dating app. There’s no social elements. It’s a one-to-one experience,” ensures Nyborg.

“Loads of people contacted me offering me money to start a new dating app after I left Tinder. The reason I’m doing this and building this from scratch, rather than taking another CEO job, is I really believe this can have a much bigger impact and can be a much bigger business.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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