1000memories, With $2.5M from Greylock and Big-Name Angels, Explores New Ways to Capture Online Memories of the Deceased

Most Silicon Valley startups with the good fortune to line up $2.5 million in Series A venture backing from a blue-chip venture firm like Greylock Partners and famous investors like Ron Conway and Mike Maples would immediately be shouting the news from the rooftops. But the founders at online memorial site 1000memories say they were too preoccupied last fall—when the term sheets were actually signed—to put out an announcement.

Now, that’s what I call busy.

There actually was something more important getting in the way, co-founder Rudy Adler explains a little sheepishly. “We wanted to launch some new features on the site,” he says. “And then the holidays hit, and then we got busy and distracted. So it just happened that February was the best time to do it.”

Belatedly, then, 1000memories is announcing today the closing of its Series A round, which, together with an investment from Y Combinator and some early angel backing obtained last summer, brings the startup’s total financing to $3 million. In addition to Conway and Maples, the round included angel investors Caterina Fake, Keith Rabois, Paul Buchheit, Chris Sacca, Ben Ling, Aydin Senkut, and Craig Sherman, the company said. Greylock associate partner David Thacker has joined 1000memories’ board.

It’s easy to see how actually using the new venture money might have gotten in the way of sharing the details about it. Adler and his co-founders Brett Huneycutt and Jonathan Good have set themselves the formidable task of filling in a piece of the social-media equation that’s been largely missing so far: a place for people to share their memories of the deceasad. Social platforms like Facebook, Adler says, are “built around the now—what am I eating today, who am I seeing, where am I going later. There’s no way to deal with the past tense, and that’s what we think we are providing.”

I first profiled 1000memories last August, a week before Y Combinator’s Demo Day and a couple of weeks before the startup closed its first angel round. A lot has happened since then. The company has hired a couple of engineers, bringing its total staff to five. The three founders moved out of the house in San Francisco’s Mission district where they started the business so that they could turn the whole place into offices. And they’ve rolled out quite a few new features, including a biography page for each memorialized person and a new format for what the company calls its memory pages. These pages, which 1000memories considers its key attractions, weave together visitor-contributed photos, stories, videos, and songs.

They’re calling this the “quilt” view, and it’s a nice example of the simple ways 1000memories is using the latest Web technologies to give a Facebook-era spin to the concept of the online obituary. “It gives you a very good glimpse of someone’s life, especially when … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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