Business  •  October 19, 2014

Prenup Stress-Test: a Startup Idea

Someone should start a prenuptial camp where couples who are considering getting married would be stress-tested. This camp should be completely neutral in their opinion of whether the couples should get married or not. That is, they shouldn’t try to design the camp to strengthen the bond, or offer any kind of advice, coaching, or counseling. All they should do is to create a situation that puts a significant amount of stress in their relationships.

For instance, leave them for a week in the middle of a forest with minimal survival equipment (but monitor them so they don’t need to risk their lives). At the end of the week, covered in dirt, freezing and hungry, if they are still in love, they should get married; otherwise split. 

These days with all the modern conveniences, many couples do not often come across situations where they can stress-test their relationships. Typically the first time they face such a stress is when they have kids but by then it’s too late to easily break up. So, they should stress-test their relationships before they get married. That way, there wouldn’t be any surprises later.

Here’s how it should work as a startup:

Each person interested in taking a Prenup Stress-Test needs to download the app and register, then answer a series of questions which can determine what kind of stress-test this couple should take. For instance, if one of them is an experienced outdoor camper, leaving them in a forest wouldn’t stress them enough. Instead, if they don’t speak Spanish, we could leave them in Mexico City with no money. We need to design a bunch of different stress-tests so that we can cause stress for any type of couples. (Send a smelly, obnoxious guy to live with them for a month, adopt four puppies, quit their jobs and start a restaurant, etc..)

Each stress-test would have a supervisor assigned who lives nearby, and in case of emergency or when they want to quit, the supervisor needs to come rescue them. 

All the stress-tests must take place where there is cell reception or WiFi so that one of them could call it quits if s/he can’t handle the stress (independently of the other). We need to create a mechanism to qualify these supervisors, and also create a marketplace where they can accept these assignments. In most cases, they wouldn’t really need to do much. They just need to make sure that they are not in real danger. They might need to go see them just so that they can charge their smart phones.

This would be sort of like Uber (like all the new startups) where supervisors get paid a certain amount, and we take some percentage. We process the payment upfront before the stress-test begins. No refund. People are willing to spend a lot of money for anything related to marriage, so, we could charge like $1,000 for a week long stress-test. We take 25%. Another 25% for external costs. 50% to the supervisor.

We give them three stress-tests to choose from, but they can only see them one at a time, and if they reject one, they can’t go back. So, if they reject two of them, they will be stuck with the third one. If they reject the third one, they lose their money instantly. This should cause them stress too in making mutually acceptable decision.

We can add a diary-like feature so that their friends and relatives can see how the couples are doing. Also a mechanism to communicate with their supervisors. Once they successfully complete the stress test, we issue a “marriage license”, and share their stories of survival on our website. To add a little viral element to it, we add a feature that lets them challenge another couple they know.

I would guess that this can contribute to reducing the number of single parents.