Cofounder + CTO

Leadership / Design / Eng / Business strategy

2016 - 2020

Setting The Context
Before I got into tech, I was on a career path to become a couples' therapist. Meanwhile, my cofounder, Kevin, was a professional dating coach whose company charged clients $4k per month (!!!).

Years later, we saw this as an opportunity to not only scale an overpriced coaching service into a native mobile app, but fill a gaping hole in the online dating industry.

Icebrkr's Mission: Help singles who are seeking serious relationships feel more confident in the way they present themselves online and how they communicate with matches.

Here is Our Early Pitch Deck

Project Overview

With Icebrkr, we embarked on a quest to revolutionize the online dating world, creating a platform dedicated to singles seeking serious relationships.

Through meticulous research and testing, we learned that daters craved personalized coaching in their pursuit of love​. We iterated from MVP to several prototypes, harnessing user feedback to refine our design and functionality. The result? Icebrkr, a dating app that prioritized quality relationships and user confidence​ by giving every user their own dating coach.

In this case study, you'll delve into our iterative design process, learn how we capitalized on user feedback, and discover some of the growth strategies that fueled our vibrant community of over 10,000 users in under 9 months.

My Role

As the Cofounder and CTO, I had my hands in almost every area of Icebrkr – including leading the product and conversational design, IA, user testing, research, product strategy and roadmapping, marketing and branding, fundraising, app development, and product management. Additionally, I recruited and managed our team of 12, and engineering consulting team.


CEO, 3 Designers, 1 Data Analyst, 4 Marketers, PM, 5 Engineers

Validating an Idea

To understand the needs of our target audience, I broke down the discovery process into 3 phases:



Behavioral interviews with our target users to understand their pain points



Rapid prototyping and testing of different solutions, no matter how crazy they sound



Home in on the most viable solution and build a product that solves those pain points

Note: There was a lot more work done throughout the process of building this company. For the sake of brevity I cut this case study down to the key moments.

Research + Pain Points

In partnership with a PhD student working on a dissertation about the struggles of online dating, we conducted more than 50 behavioral interviews to identify the story of our target user.
User's Story:

"I’ve been using dating apps for years to find a serious relationship. My problems are that I don’t know what to say on my profile, what photos I should use, or how to have conversations that lead to dates. When I do match, I usually end up with people who aren’t looking for anything serious. This makes me feel hopeless (because I’ve tried a lot of dating  apps), sad (because I’m alone), and insecure (because maybe I’m not good enough)."

User's Emotions:

Sad, Hopeless, Insecure, Exhausted

Interview Transcripts

In these interviews, we highlighted patterns of user pain points, where they felt the current dating apps were lacking, and any strong emotional reactions.

Prototyping + Testing

Rapid prototype different solutions with target users.

Our core hypothesis:

Daters will want to use an online dating coach to help them find a serious relationship.

testing our hypothesis

MVP - Text Icebrkr

Before devoting resources to building an app, we had zero budget and we needed to test our hypothesis. My cofounder was an online dating coach, so we used him as the product. I created an MVP with a landing page linking to a Google Voice number to test if singles wanted dating advice via text. It caught fire 🔥

The media caught wind of this service where we landed many local news interviews, and even an article in The New York Times. We used that publicity to raise our seed round, and eventually build the app.

What we learned:

  • daters were excited about the idea of getting immediate dating advice through text (some would even text while they were on dates!)
  • daters were willing to pay for this service
  • areas our in-app coaching service should focus on

"Text Icebrkr" landing page

NYT Article

How to get Media Attention

To catch the attention of investors, we tried building as much credibility as we could. Media is one way of doing that. Long story short, we saw an article in Bostinno about an SMS startup. Bingo! We contacted the author and 2 weeks later we were featured on the front page (link). This article led to a deluge of media appearances (NBC, Fox, PBN, etc.), including the NYT article referenced above.

Initial App Wireframes

As we prepared to test the app, I created what would be the first wireframes that led to the eventual product.


After the MVP, I designed and tested several more quick and dirty prototypes with our target demo using our early access email list. Our goal was to get quick learnings to improve the designs before spending resources on the app and marketing.

Rapid Prototype #1

Overview: Quick designs; FAB icon on each screen presented tips on profile building and talking to a match.

Lesson: Users liked the tips, but the UX was passive. Most didn't know to click the FAB. Advice was too general, need more tailored experience.

Rapid Prototype #2

Overview: Interactive prototype with a chatbot UX. Provided users with more specific, contextual dating advice throughout their experience.

Lessons: Users loved the helpfulness and playfulness of the chatbot. "It feels like a friend is helping me with my profile."

Onboarding was too long; too much copy; app should do more of the work for the user.

Rapid Prototype #3

Overview: This prototype shortened the copy and handled more of the load for users. The main goals here were to test the chatbot script and the preselected responses.

Lessons: This prototype was received much better than the previous 2. Some of the copy needed to be rewritten and the interactions were a bit confusing, but this was a product we could build from.

App User Flows

Mapping out the user flows of each product experience (only 2 below)

High-level user flow of the app

User flow for chatbot conversation with match

UI + Style Guide

Colors and typography used for the app and all branding and marketing campaigns


Icebrkr Dating App

App Description

An iOS dating app with a built in digital dating coach chatbot (named “Hootie”) and human dating coaches to review every profile for quality.

  • Since our target demographic had low confidence from unsuccessfully trying other products, our core goal with Icebrkr was to give our users confidence in themselves by providing them with the tools they needed to help show off their best selves and turn their matches into dates.

Some of Icebrkr's Features

  • The entire user experience was inside a chatbot conversation (before matching)
  • Every profile is reviewed by a real dating coach
  • Hootie provided photo recommendations and profile building tips
  • Hootie coached users on how to communicate with their matches, like tailored conversation starters, how to ask a match out on a date, and built in date recommendations
  • Only allow daters who are interested in serious relationships; all others were encouraged to use a different app by Hootie


In the 4 years of building Icebrkr, I learned countless lessons as a founder, manager, and designer — far too many to list here. I am also grateful for the team we built and the 10,000+ members who joined Icebrkr to find a partner.

From a designer's perspective, the main takeaway is to thoroughly listen to users, both in words and behaviors, using that information to continue building and iterating the product they need and love to use.

User Testimonials

A few quotes from our Icebrkr users about their experience

“The personalized and unbiased feedback on my photos and bio questions was refreshing.”

Kayla, 29

“This would be great for newly divorced or widowed people who don’t have a lot of confidence.”

Peter, 36

“Not as tedious and complicated as eHarmony. It’s a great place to start and it’s user-friendly” 

Tiffany, 37