For Craig Elimeliah, the digital director at advertising agency RAPP in New York, Pair is like having a private version of Facebook or Twitter. He says he initially tried it because staying on top of new tech is part of his job, but quickly realized the app works well for sharing messages and links with his wife that their children won’t see when playing around with their parents’ phones.
“It’s kind of romantic,” he says. “There’s something about it where it’s just paired between her and I and there is nothing else on the screen. It keeps conversations focused.”
Rajendiran says that, for now, the focus is on improving the quality of interactions between users, rather than on making money. But the startup might eventually sell premium features, he says.
Catalina Toma, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies the impact of technology on relationships, says Pair helps people let their partners know they’re important, which is key to keeping a close, happy connection.
“I think close couples do this kind of behavior anyway—they do texting, send photos—and this app just brings them together in one platform and recognizes the importance of this behavior,” she says.
And Pair isn’t just bringing together significant others. James Tamplin, a Y Combinator alum and CEO of online chat software provider Envolve, has been playing around with the app with his cofounder and says he could see it becoming a tool even for those in nonromantic relationships.
“It’s got the hook, which is the relationship part, but ultimately it’s a rich messaging application,” he says. “I think they can use that technology to expand it beyond couples and have it be useful and productive.”