The death care industry is evolving to keep pace with how consumers perceive death and experience grief today. Expensive funerals with caskets and traditional burials are being replaced by body composting (green funerals) and memorial stones made from the remains of loved ones. Among the innovators in this space are tech startups, more specifically, death tech startups, like Lalo.
After his father’s death, Juan Medina started to wonder if he’d gotten to know his father as well as he should have. This internal struggle, common in the grieving process, drove him to seek tools to learn more about his past. So, he used popular genealogy and DNA research sites like Ancestry and 23andMe to trace his heritage and get in touch with relatives in his native country, Bolivia. Juan recorded these conversations and curated photos, eventually creating a biography of timelines and maps to share with family members. The response to the project was so positive that he wondered how he could scale it, and the short answer was – tech.
Lalo taps into the emotional aspects of death – memories, photos, stories, even recipes – things that can get lost when death occurs in a family. The startup provides a safe, ad-free space people can go to intentionally preserve family memories instead of focusing on death and loss.
Juan was encouraged to launch the app on iOS first. But for multicultural audiences, specifically Hispanics and African Americans, the first point of entry to the internet is a mobile device. Hispanics and African Americans in the U.S. primarily use Android, and over 90% of smartphone users in Latin America do as well. So, Lalo is being developed for Android and iOS to ensure inclusivity. Taking the iOS route would have been a huge miss for making Lalo accessible to black and brown audiences.
In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Juan Medina, Founder and CEO of Lalo, shares the origin story of the death tech app designed to create a hub for families to preserve the memories of deceased loved ones.