How Relate began
It was early spring 2017. Relates current CEO Philip Jonzon Jarl sat under a bush and hid from the monsoon rain on a deserted beach in Brazil and felt lost in life. He had achieved most of the goals he set for himself - conventional success, financial freedom and social recognition. Despite this, he felt a marked emptiness. He felt that his life was lacking in meaning, that it lacked a deeper purpose. He had abruptly interrupted the career he was building and left behind the comforts of his previous life, in order to tailor a new life with more purpose and passion.
At the same time, the training company SelfLeaders finally began to gain momentum and success. Value-based leadership development really began to gain momentum as many business leaders realized that sustainable employee motivation is not something that stems from external rewards or triggers - it comes from within and is based on the individual's personal values.
Through it's workshops, SelfLeaders discovered that something very unexpected happened when two people were asked to open up to each other using SelfLeaders' valuation methodology. By skipping cold talk, the method was able to take the conversation directly to a deeper point of contact, based on the deepest layers of personal values.
At each workshop, there were often a couple of individuals that they literally had to pry apart in order to move on with the rest of the workshop. It was a connection so deep that time sometimes stopped. By studying this phenomenon more closely, they came to the conclusion that what laid the foundation for the magic in these conversations was that the couples often shared many values and that they experienced a deep connection from understanding each other in depth.
Meanwhile, back on the now wet beach in Brazil, Philip had a personal "eureka moment". After spending several months of reflection and research on the topics of joy, purpose and meaning, Philip had finally come up with what is most important in his life, and in his opinion, for the rest of the world. After all the complex personality tests and all the research he read, the answer was ironically very simple: People. Genuine connection and meaningful relationships with other people were not only what gave him the greatest sense of meaning in life, the consensus in the research he read also seemed to be that this was what gave people in general the greatest sense of joy and well-being. Philip had found his purpose.
At SelfLeaders in Stockholm, one of the founders, Jan Artem Henriksson, had started exploring different ways to get more people than just senior managers and top talent to take part in the best exercises in human maturation and personal development. SelfLeaders had set an intention to create a product for the consumer market, but they were unsure of how and in what form.
In the summer of 2017, Philip moved back to Sweden and decided to make his dream come true - to become an entrepreneur. He had since his teens been a person who was attracted to everything that had to do with personal development, and he was one of the first people to participate in SelfLeader's pilot course as early as 2010 at the Stockholm School of Economics, which Jan Artem held. Now, seven years later , Philip contacted Janne and explained his intention to start a company to help people gain deeper connection and a stronger understanding for each other. The timing was perfect.
Philip and Janne had lunch on a sunny hill in central Stockholm and tried to apply the valuation methodology to themselves. They quickly realized that they had an incredible connection, they shared 10 out of 18 values. It felt like fate had brought them together to carry out the mission of using values as a tool to help people get closer to each other.
A few months later, one of SelfLeader's star tech consultants, Tim Brandin, heard about the idea of Relate. Tim was the one who had built the core of SelfLeader's valuation methodology. He sought love himself, and since he himself was not satisfied with the range of digital dating alternatives available, he had for some time also had plans to build a better dating service. Tim left his hometown Gothenburg to hear more about Relate's vision and pitch by Philip in Stockholm, and that day Relate got its third co-founder.
Relate got value-driven investors on board early, such as Stefan Krook (Kivra, GoodCause), Karl-Johan Persson (H&M), Tomas Björkman (Stiftelsen Ekskäret) and Daniel Pilotti (Ryska Posten), who are still involved and support the vision.