Valentine’s Day for start-ups: The perils of dating the co-founder

Valentine’s Day for start-ups: The perils of dating the co-founder

Aleks Svetski and Chantelle de la Rey, co-founders of digital currency exchange Amber, observe a rule: they don’t call each other babe at work.

The pair had been dating for four months when they founded their company in late 2017. While scaling the business in a highly volatile market, the couple agreed to a series of measures – from keeping Sundays work-free to separating how they communicate at work and home – to protect their fledgling relationship.

“These things are never smooth. We’re in a relationship and on a crusade to help more people get access to bitcoin,” Mr Svetski said.

Amber, which swaps spare change from daily purchases to cryptocurrencies, has secured $1.28 million in funding from investors like the the Queensland University of Technology’s venture arm.

The challenges facing Amber’s co-founders are reflected in the experience of other start-up couples, who seek to balance work with romance, and to leave behind the stereotype of founders as solitary self-destructive bachelors.

Ms de la Rey said achieving that balance was a “constant battle”, but that they had made progress by maintaining an appropriate distance. “He’s on his journey in the company; and I’m on mine,” she said.

 

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