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Seattle startup Lalo is the latest “Destech” innovator with an app to share and collect stories and more.




(Especially the image)

Juan Medina first considered the idea of ​​a new startup in 2003, when his wife asked him to talk about his father after his father’s death. Medina realized she didn’t know him very well. The story, jokes, recipes, etc. were lost or scattered among various friends and family, Medina said.

The idea has resurfaced in the last few years, as Medinas’ daughter (now nine years old) said she had never actually met her grandparents. Medina has decided to launch the nickname of startup Lalo and her father with the mission of providing a private digital space to connect with people, share stories and retain precious memories.

Currently operating as a small private beta, Laro is an app that makes it easy to collect digital content such as images, videos, audio and text. Apart from the noise and common pitfalls of traditional social media platforms, the group is intentionally kept small, promoting increased trust and privacy. Imagine a family getting together to collect the best recipes in one space, or share images that may have been lost in an invisible photo album.

Laro’s founder Juan Medina. (Photo courtesy of Juan Medina)

According to Medina, it’s a space to capture more important family memories, grandpa, tell us about your time on a Sunday call from your grandchildren to your grandparents.

Lalo plans to make money by charging $ 25 a year for ad-free app subscriptions, allowing multiple people to access the space at that price. According to Medina, the idea is optimized for small groups of 10 to 15 people and is overly prejudiced about privacy.

You will not be pinged by your junior high school friends. For example, join my account, “he said.

Medina is also committed to protecting data persistence. This could include blockchain solutions and other methods of digitally archiving materials over time. He sees competitors as traditional social media such as Facebook, where people trade images and stories today, or story-focused services such as NPR’s StoryCorps and StoryWorth.

The idea goes against the wave of innovation in the Destech category, where startups are rethinking everything about traditional end-of-life and funeral industry practices with ideas such as body composting, cremation services, and casket purchases. increase.

Lalo users don’t have to focus on the recent or imminent loss of their loved ones, but Medina believes this app will be a useful tool in the process of sadness.

For more than eight years at Amazon, Medina knew how to work on a variety of technologies, build things from scratch, and make things quickly, before trying her hand at her startup. The decision to start away from Laro was accompanied by some anxiety.

I’m married, I have a daughter, we have a mortgage. According to Medina, it was scary to leave Ive’s lifelong stable income. But that was amazing. I loved it. It’s great to do what I like and what I’m passionate about.

In addition, interest from various angel investors and funding from Laros’ first institutional investor eased concerns about the long-term feasibility of the idea. Columbus, Ohio-based VC firm Overlooked Ventures announced earlier this month that Lalo was the first investment, and founding partner Janine Sickmeyer wrote about the startup. It can help people deal with the loss together and stay connected.

Medina did not share how much Laro raised in pre-seed funding. The company was founded at the end of 2020 and moved in March after Medina left Amazon.

Lalo currently employs eight people and was one of the 30 startups selected for the Washington Technology Industry Association’s 6th Founder Cohort Program announced in August. The plan will be out of beta in early 2022.




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