A Startup Promising Wedding Loan Shifted to a Crowdfunding Platfrom, Disappoints Couples

By Staff Writer

Feb 18, 2016 09:14 AM EST

Last December, a Seattle-based startup announced that they would give up to  $10,000 wedding funds to engaged couples. The fund would be given in a form of loans, whereas the couple do not have an obligation to pay it back for as long as they are still together. However, only moments before its Valentine's Day launch, the startup pivots the business plan to a wedding crowdfunding website instead, infuriating couples.

SwanLuv started with the concept of providing couples money to cover their wedding expenses. The couple wouldn't have to pay the loan back for as long as they stay together. However, if the couple decided to have a divorce, they would have to pay the money back with interest. 

In December, the startup started promoting the concept in their website. SwanLuv explained that they can provide up to $10,000 fund to cover wedding expenses for free, with no hidden fees. Couples interested could submit their application online and sign an agreement. In addition to free marriage, the startup also provide free marriage counseling to help couples stay together. According to Consumerist, the program was set to launch this month on Valentine's Day.

The service did launch this week, as anticipated by a lot of couplesand potential applicants. However, there have been a major change in the business and service concept compared to the initial pitch. Instead of a funding platform, SwanLuv was launched as a crowdfunding platform for weddings. Using the platform, couples can raise money from friends, family, and community members. And if the couple got divorced, the fund should be returned to the people who donated the money.

The sudden change in the service's concept upset many couples. The website is down now, but GeekWire reported the company's message in the site, announcing the shift in the business concept. "Based on the overwhelming interest in SwanLuv's financing program (totaling billions of dollars of demand), we have adjusted our platform to help support more couples! Introducing SwanLuv's New Wedding Crowdfunding Campaign!" the message said.

Besides overwhelming demand, the company says it also didn't anticipate the heavy legal restrictions and regulations associated with giving loans, as reported by CNN Money. SwanLuv founder and CEO Scott Avy stated that the crowdfunding model is much easier to operate. Avy also claimed that the startup had interest from venture capitalists and angel investors.

Hundreds of couples are expressing their disappointment in the startup's abrupt change in business concept. The couples had expected that SwanLuv would give out funds to help cover wedding expenses with no obligation to pay it back as long as the couple stays together. However, the startup had shifted their business plan and transform the program to a crowdfunding campaign with the couple's friends, family, and other community members as the source of the money. 

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