Karla Uribe, who joins the Hello Divorce leadership Feb. 1 as its first chief product officer, believes that technology and data can be used to drive better outcomes for couples going through divorce and their children.

She comes to the company with the mission of overseeing its product’s transition from a tech-enabled services platform to a product-first software experience that delivers expert assistance only when necessary at a price point that everyone can afford.

“The goal for me is to make sure that it is the best experience that could be created for somebody who is going through that process,” Uribe told me. “It’s not just the form-filling part. It is also how we use technology for things like helping couples come to an agreement, what are the ways in which we can use data, how can we use connections to FinTech.”

She arrives at the California-based startup — whose platform facilitates low-cost do-it-yourself and attorney-assisted divorces — as it  is beginning a nationwide expansion fueled by a $2 million seed investment in July.

Erin Levine, the divorce attorney who founded Hello Divorce and is now its CEO, said Uribe is the right executive to help lead the company’s charge. “Our vision is to make the entire divorce process friendlier, easier and a lot more affordable,” Levine said.

Formerly At Intuit

Uribe worked 13 years as a product manager at Intuit, most recently as director of product management overseeing core products including TurboTax Self-Employed.

She believes there are strong parallels between the tax and divorce markets, in that both are highly regulated, both can have highly emotional consequences for those involved, and both are highly data-driven in terms of the information needed to fill out key forms.

“It felt to me like a perfect opportunity to bring my expertise in solving problems with technology to a space where I feel like there are sufficient comparisons to the tax world that I can draw from best practices and use that to the best of my ability to really help people that are going through this life transition,” Uribe said.

Uribe believes that the Hello Divorce product is in the early stages of a journey that can eventually lead to it doing much more to help divorcing couples.

That means taking it beyond simply helping people fill out required forms to where data and AI can be employed to help people make better decisions about the terms of their divorce and the care of their children.

“Being product first means thinking about things like where can we use data to make this process easier? Where can we pull information on behalf of a customer? Where can we use predictive technology to help advise on what is a common path that people might take?

“How do we scale to a point where there are no delays, there are no concerns about technology not doing what it’s supposed to be doing? Where can we be innovative in the types of solutions that we’re creating that don’t exist in the market right now? That is what I mean by product first.”

In keeping with that vision, Hello Divorce plans to expand in 2022 to offer cooperative divorce mediation nationally and to create tools that make it easier for spouses to collaborate on divorce-related issues such as dividing assets and creative co-parenting arrangements that help kids thrive.

Native Spanish Speaker

Born in the U.S., Uribe was raised from infancy in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. She believes that background provides cultural and language skills that will help her in developing the Hello Divorce platform.

On the language side, she plans to enable the platform to handle multiple languages — something she already did in her work at Intuit. But she thinks the cultural connection could also help her in developing a platform that is able to connect with people in a more empathetic and understanding way.

“Ultimately, it’s about providing that confidence and that empathy to a very highly emotional process.”

As excited as she is about the mission of Hello Divorce, Uribe said, it was the people who work at the company that tipped the scales towards her joining.

“You can have this really awesome idea, but it’s the people that have to bring it to life that really matter,” she said. “I’m just so impressed with this team that I couldn’t say no. It was the lead reason for me to leave my Intuit job and say I really want to come over here.”