Startups of the week #15.2

Digital communication tools like Skype, Facebook and Twitter allow us to communicate instantly across the world. However, a new iPhone app gives users the private platform to share messages between your loved one all day. It's like they aren't 10,000 miles away.

1. Pair

Even with the internet, long distance relationships are hard work. My partner - who is currently in Australia - and I have been apart for nearly five months. Because of the large time difference, Skype has been reduced to only an hour a day and Facebook chat proved to be pretty useless, especially when on the go. There were times when we felt completely detached from each other's lives. Then Pair hit the app store.

Pair is a new and private platform for couples, especially those in long distance relationships. With 50,000 downloads in its first week, it looks set to be one of the next top apps. This is amazing as it contains no potentially viral content, which other social networks thrive on. Pair is just two people sharing their lives with each other, and no one else.

We had a problem. We had just moved to Mountain View, but our girlfriends were still in Canada. We tried using text message, and Facebook to stay in touch, but we really felt like there should be a better way to stay in touch with our partners. We realized that we were sending over 90% of our messages to a single person using tools that were designed to send messages to everyone you know. There didn't seem to be a better way. So we made one :)

Currently only on iOS devices [iTunes], this intimate network allows a couple to leave videos, pictures, drawings and "thinking of you" nudges. When the couple are on the app at the same time, they can live draw together and "thumbkiss", a virtual intimate moment where matching thumbs prints will make your screen red and vibrate.

Created by developer Oleg Kostour, Pair has received investment from Path's Dave Morrin as well as founder of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington. We would consider that an incredibly smart investment, as the company is now worth around $10million dollars. Not bad for roughly three months work.

While it all may sound incredibly cheesy, Pair has proved to be so popular that even single people want in on the action, with PairMixer allowing users to 'pair-up' with other random singles. The fact is, people are going to post sappy messages on social networking sites... wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to see them.