Divorce is known for bringing out the worst in people. And while ending a marriage is never going to be painless, the people at a startup called Wevorce believe that it doesn’t have to be as ugly as it often is — and that the status quo divorce process creates unnecessary conflict. According to Wevorce, technology and social science can be used to ease the stresses of the divorce process, and potentially make every divorce an amicable one.
It’s an ambitious but very worthy goal, given how many people are unfortunately affected by divorce nowadays. And now, the company has landed some new funding to help make it a reality.
Wevorce is announcing today that it’s taken on $1.7 million in a new seed funding round from investors including Foundation Capital and Sam Altman. This brings the total invested in Wevorce, which launched out of Y Combinator in March 2013, to $2 million.
This week I spoke to Wevorce co-founder and CEO Michelle Crosby via Skype about the new funding, and you can watch that all in the video embedded above.
In a typical divorce, each spouse is represented by his or her own lawyer, which can lead to a sense of opposition and often end in court. With Wevorce, couples work together with legally-trained “Divorce Architects” who help negotiate the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of a divorce in a cooperative way. The whole process is guided by Wevorce’s software, which aims to eliminate many of the hurdles (and costs) associated with traditional divorces.
To date, more than 100 divorces have been handled by Wevorce, and 99 percent of those have stayed out of court. According to Crosby, the typical divorce in the United States costs $27,000 — and the average Wevorce costs a third of that.
Wevorce currently has 28 full-time staffers across 10 offices in the Western US, and the new funding will largely be used to help scale that out across the country. Crosby says that Wevorce has received interest from people worldwide, so the hope is to eventually grow the service internationally as well.
Crosby says the aim of Wevorce is not meant to trivialize the divorce process, or make it easier for people to split up. In fact, it can help keep couples together. “We are pro-family, not pro-divorce. If there is a chance of reconciliation, we believe that our system actually enables that better,” Crosby says. “We help build better conversations, and they don’t always end in divorce. We try to take the judgement and shame out of it. We’re just here to help them through difficult times.”
At a time when it seems like so many web startups are centered around making fun things funner (selfies, dating, drinking) it’s nice to see companies that are tackling more sensitive and difficult issues as well.