This startup bets up to $10,000 that your marriage will end badly


A new startup in Seattle will fund your wedding. Up to $10,000. Even thenacho cheese fondue fountain. The catch: If your union crumbles, at six months or 25 years, you must pay them back — with interest.

Swanluv will review your relationship and set an interest rate based on your compatibility. Co-founder Scott Avy won’t reveal the couple-selection criteria or the interest range. He said simply that the number “won’t be too crazy.”

But Swanluv, he said, won’t directly profit from heartbreak. Cash from divorces — and there will be divorces — will cover someone else’s future nuptials. Avy said he plans to sell advertisements to generate revenue, although he wouldn’t say what kind or to whom.

Swanluv’s sustained growth, as the business model apparently stands now, depends on a whole lot of lovers breaking up.

The idea came to Avy when a recently engaged roommate complained about wedding costs. He thought: Why should money stand in the way of love? “Swans, they mate for life,” said Avy, a product manager at Expedia by day. “That’s what we’re trying to get behind, everlasting marriage.”

People, however, don’t always mate for life. People also have mortgages, child support, divorce attorney fees — does Swanluv really want to slap them with a failed marriage bill?

“We’re not forcing anyone to sign up,” Avy said. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve gotten hundreds of emails telling me how meaningful this is.”

He wouldn’t say whether Swanluv has attracted investors, or how many couples will receive a check once the company officially launches in February. The contracts, he added, include a clause that charges only one partner if abuse ends a marriage.

Swanluv’s offer comes as the cost of walking down the aisle surges. A survey of 16,000 brides by XO Group, which owns, found that the average cost of a wedding (sans honeymoon) was $31,213.

The share of never-married adults in the United States, meanwhile, has reached a historic peak, according to the Pew Research Center. One in five adults today older than 25 have never been married, compared with one in 10 during the 1960s.



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