Ali Maggioncalda
Ali Maggioncalda

Ali Maggioncalda: I’m in California Because This Is Where My People Are – I’m Surrounded by Wicked Smart and Generous Family, Friends, and Advisors

Ali Maggioncalda of Lovewick.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m a romantic at heart with an insatiable curiosity to understand human behavior. My company Lovewick, a relationship wellness app for couples, is the product of both my academic (BA Human Biology at Stanford, MA Service Design at the Royal College of Art) and personal experiences in dating and love. It’s my absolute dream job!

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

I think the biggest misconception is that successful startup founders had a great idea or “aha” moment solution and then just had to get the resources to bring that idea to life. I believe that successful founders and startups fall in love with a problem, not a solution.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

One of my biggest lessons is that investing in your personal well-being early on is an investment in the success of your company.

We all hear about the founder “grind” and the sacrifices required to build a successful startup — and that is absolutely true — but I see for myself and my founder friends how powerful practices like therapy, coaching, unplugged time with family, etc. are for innovation, creativity, and longevity of the company.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Take time to celebrate wins. It’s admirable to always be pushing for better, but I didn’t realize until fairly late in my journey how important it was for me to press pause long enough to relish in hitting milestones and targets.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

I told myself from the very beginning of my journey that I would not sacrifice my interpersonal relationships to help others with theirs; I would be a hypocrite to neglect my relationships while building a company to help people foster more connection, play, and thoughtfulness in theirs!

Of course there are late nights, and I haven’t had a vacation where I truly “unplugged” for more than a day at a time in years, but on the whole I feel fulfilled both personally and professionally and very fortunate for that.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

I did my Dissertation on the future of romantic love, technology, and design, and that was hugely influential in terms of my decision to start Lovewick.

I saw a world full of tech to help us find a relationship (dating apps), to help us outsource some of our emotional or sexual needs to tech (virtual reality porn, sex robots, chatbot friends), but very little aside from teletherapy in terms of tech to help us actually nurture our relationships. I thought I had a unique perspective to offer and could meaningfully contribute to filling this gap.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

The relationship wellness space is still quite new, but I think two things make Lovewick quite unique. First, the app design and content is rooted in research but actually fun; we want to facilitate great conversations and experiences without it feeling like “work” or like you’re fixing something broken.

Second, because we have a diverse community that contributes questions and date ideas, our content gets better and better as more couples join the community. Very few competitors have a community approach or any extent of crowdsourcing value.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

Lovewick is completely free to download and use, so I don’t have much to say on sales! We have lots of ideas about how to monetize in the future, but for now we are laser-focused on building a product couples love and find immense value in.

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in California over other states in the US?

I doubt this is the answer you’re looking for, but I’m in California because this is where my people are — I’m surrounded by wicked smart and generous family, friends, and advisors.

What (if any) are the weaknesses of operating your business within California?

None that I can think of off the top of my head. If I had gone to school or grown up elsewhere, I’m sure I would have been open to operating my business elsewhere.

We are currently suffering through a cost of living crisis. With California already being one of the most expensive states to live in, how has this impacted your business?

To be honest, it hasn’t impacted the business much. We are an entirely remote and distributed team; we have teammates in other states and even other countries.

It is no secret that California is the birthplace of innovation. But that also makes it incredibly competitive. How have you found the competitive environment of California?

I grew up in the Bay Area in California and went to one of the most competitive public schools in the country, so I think there was an element of “a fish doesn’t recognize that water is wet” for me until I had opportunities to live in other states or countries.

That said, I don’t think it’s California that’s competitive as a blanket statement. I think any place with a high density of startups or ambitious entrepreneurs would likely have that vibe.

Have you considered moving your company to another state? If so, which state and why?

As a solo founder, I’m happy being close to my friends and family right now. Their support has really made this journey of starting a company possible.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

I have a vision of where I want the company to be, helping millions of couples across the world feel more connected, appreciated, and adventurous in their relationships, but the designer in me recognizes that getting to that scale could take many different forms! I’m excited to continue exploring, building, and growing so that we can best serve our couples.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

We would love you to download Lovewick: Relationship App, available on iOS and Android, or check us out on our socials, especially TikTok and Instagram (@withlovewick). Thank you!

Follow Lovewick on Twitter or Linkedin.

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