Meet Lalo, a Death Tech App and Overlooked Ventures’ First Investment

Janine Sickmeyer
4 min readSep 1, 2021
Image description: An image of a mobile phone with the Lalo app on display and text that says: Funding Announcement: Overlooked Ventures Invests in Lalo, a Death Tech App

Overlooked Ventures is excited to announce its first investment in Lalo, an app for remembrance and grief. Lalo is a part of the death tech space, a section of the $68 billion death care industry (source).

The death care industry is archaic, dated, and lacking innovation. And yet, it is the one space that will impact all of us at some point or another. We need better ways to honor and memorialize our loved ones.

What is death tech?

Death tech is a growing market about to take off with 76 million baby boomers in the US and almost 10K turning 65 daily (source). The industry recently starting to gain attention from investors and consumers, also commonly referred to as silver tech, deathcare, end-of-life tech. COVID-19 is just one reason why death tech is becoming a more widely known industry. Because of the global pandemic, many of us were forced to consider the mortality of ourselves and our loved ones. Over 4.36 million lives worldwide were lost to COVID-19 (source), and a total of 60.12 million people are expected to die in 2021, according to UN projections.

It’s clear that technology and solutions are needed in the death space. While thinking of your own passing or a loved-ones passing isn’t the most comforting, using tools that help you prepare and grieve can provide a sense of acceptance and closure.

Because of these growing trends in the deathcare space, we have been seeing major funding announcements in recent years for end-of-life planning apps like Everdays who raised nearly $17M, and Farewill out of the UK that secured $35.5M to make the process of writing a will, and handling funeral, and cremation services easier and friendlier. Other companies tackling the death care industry are Better Place Forests, which raised $52M to provide memorial forests for families who choose cremation, and Eterneva, which is turning ashes into diamonds and recently secured a $10M investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank.

Other popular death tech companies making moves right now include:

  • Parting Stone: A clean alternative to ashes with stones
  • Recompose: Become soil when you die that can be used to grow a tree
  • Plot Box: A cloud based death care management solution for cemeteries
  • GoodTrust: Protect and preserve your digital presence and memory

One place where the industry has lacked innovation is in grief and bereavement. COVID-19 disrupted funeral and memorial plans and even last moments with the ones we love. While most people are searching for photos and videos of their lost family members and friends to revisit those memories, we often don’t have enough to hold on to. You may find a crumpled photo to put on display at the service or an old image from to share in the obituary, but what about the stories about the old days that made her laugh until she cried and the tone of his voice when he met your little one? Where do you hold these memories?

Meet Lalo

Lalo is a platform to discover, share, and preserve memories for those looking to celebrate special occasions or honor loved ones, in a private, ad-free space. Their platform offers many ways to share and find stories about your deceased loved ones, such as journaling, video chat, conversation starters, and image sharing.

Image description: three mobile phones with images of the Lalo app

When the Overlooked Ventures team met Juan Medina, the founder of Lalo, they knew it was the perfect fit. Juan, a Latinx immigrant from South America (Colombia/Bolivia), created Lalo to honor his late father who passed away in 2003 to Multiple Sclerosis. Now having a family of his own, Juan realized he didn’t have a way to preserve family stories and traditions to pass down to future generations. Lalo, named after his father, is a place to share memories using video, images, or text, and provides video chat that you can record and watch back at any time, and conversation prompt to help you discover new stories.

Co-founding partner, Janine Sickmeyer shared a beautiful realization that she had while having dinner with her husband just days after the investment in Lalo:

Image description: A screenshot of the text conversation Janine shared with the Lalo team

Image text: “I went to dinner with my husband and we started talking about life and death and I started getting really emotional thinking about when I’m gone and (maybe it was the wine, but) I started to cry thinking about how my thoughts and dreams and ambitions are all gone. But somehow, I had a feeling of calm thinking that the videos and photos will go on. And I literally stopped crying to say ‘well, at least Lalo will outlive me.’ So in some really strange way, I connected more than ever tonight with the mission of leaving a legacy for my kids through tech.”

The Future of Death Tech

No amount of technology can ease the pain of losing someone you love, but having better ways to grieve, can help people cope and stay connected to mourn the loss together. At Overlooked Ventures, we believe that Lalo is the technology that will honor the memory and preserve stories of those we lose along the way.

We couldn’t be happier to introduce Lalo as the first startup to join Overlooked Venture’s portfolio.

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