It’s Valentines Day, so we should probably talk about love. Love as the wildest and most passionate of beasts, both tender and dangerous. The love worthy of torn 80′s ballads. Hard love, forever love, real love.
That’s the kind of love Toronto startup Tokii aims to help reignite and preserve.
Tokii claims to be the world’s first “relationship management” and digital self-help platform. At its core are “discovery games” designed to help established couples rediscover each other — and what is and isn’t in the cards — a little better. The games cover a wide range of topics from conflict resolution all the way to x-rated voyages into anal play and S&M.
“When you first start dating a person, you want to know everything about them — what coffee they drink, what their favourite movie is,” says co-founder Karla Stephens-Tolstoy. “As life gets busy, you forget to re-ask those questions. The couples that have been together 15- 20 years get a lot of the answers wrong,”
Tokii was born out of Stephens-Tolstoy’s own marital issues. A self-proclaimed “success junkie,” she’s held top tier executive positions at huge wireless companies in China, Romania and the Czech Republic. After she and her colleague/husband Al Tolstoy returned to North America, she realized their relationship felt stagnant. She didn’t want to become a statistic, so the couple founded Tokii in 2008 and launched the beta version in 2011. Now the company has 12 employees who collaborate with a panel of over 100 international experts including doctors, military specialists and psychologists to authenticate the games before testing them in-house.
“We don’t want to be superficial; we want to help the relationship. Every game we put out has a purpose of trying to open up some new way of communication,” Stephens-Tolstoy says.
Tokii’s analytics show the site registers most with married heterosexual couples 35 and over, despite earlier audience forecasts in the 20-35 year range (and despite me learning of Tokii through LGBT radio). The pulled data is often compiled into infographs on themes like love for military couples, or intimacy, then posted to sister site TokiiLab.com. (Also on Tokii Lab, is a V-Day read entitled, “The Good Girls Guide To Making A Sex Tape.” I’ll wait while you forward that to your girlfriend.)
Speaking of your girlfriend, Tokii will soon launch a new bartering system called Trading Post in April. It’s intended to be innocent, but seems like it could easily just as be called Sexual Favours. “Hey honey if you wash the dishes I’ll give you a strip tease hotter than Lindsay Lohan as Linda Lovelace naked in stilettos on silk Vegas sheets.” That kind of thing, I would imagine.
Tokii hopes the psychological approach to love and relationships will transfer to future platforms on self-help topics such as depression and eating disorders. Body image games will be incorporated into Tokii’s Discovery Games as early as next week.
“The back end of our technology is built to be more. We launched just with couples to do our testing, then we’re going to extend it to self-awareness tools, to working with your family, tools for parents with teenage kids, so that it can be an everyday tool,” says Stephens-Tolstoy.
Tokii is currently a free platform, but plans to move into paid features in the near future. So typical of a relationship to woo you so starry-eyed then make you pay for it later. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers.
Sheena Lyonnais is all about good writing and bad decisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @SheenaLyonnais.