Helping young people "plan for the future", this website has received millions in financing

This article is reproduced from IT House. One day in April 2020, the 24-year-old Isabel wrote a tweet that she will send from her grave in the future. She was not about to die, and she was not even sick at all.

Isabel is "grassed" by a new Internet service. She saw some websites on the Internet that help people "plan for their own affairs". The service content includes helping users continue to send tweets, Moments, etc. after death. The service is in the heart of Isabel, "This is the last time I can show my personality."

The National Funeral Association found that 15.8% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that they should plan their funerals and arrange their affairs before the age of 40, while among those over 60, only 7.9 % Of people think so.

According to a survey conducted by California State University professor Nathan, “People have long believed that young people have no interest in talking about death, or that they are not capable of talking about death. But in fact, many young people have had conversations about hospice care with their families. ."

More and more young millennials are beginning to participate in this matter. "People are beginning to solve their own funeral rituals, digital heritage and other issues in the way they want. Our users are basically between 25 and 35 years old." said Lantern founder Eddy, born in 1990. Lantern is one of the websites that provide related services. Since its establishment in 2018, Lantern has received 2 rounds of financing totaling US$2.3 million (approximately RMB 15 million).

However, even if contemporary young people no longer fear death, it is not easy to sell death-related services to people in their twenties and thirties.

Planning a "digital heritage"

Eddy's idea of ​​starting a business originated from the death of his relatives. Eddy's father passed away very early. At the age of 27, she received a call from her grandmother when she was away from home.

Coming to the body of the grandmother, two police officers and a nurse asked her, "What do you want to do?" Eddy was at a loss. She took out her mobile phone and searched "A relative has passed away. What do you need to do?"

In fact, Eddy's grandmother had asked her to make arrangements for her own affairs, such as writing a will, arranging hospice care, and telling her where to put some important items and documents. Even though he had already had plans and psychological preparations, Eddy was still a bit at a loss when things really happened-because there were still many important things that had not been considered before.

Lantern co-founder Alyssa Ruderman and founder Liz Eddy

For example, Eddy doesn't know how to close her grandmother's social media platform account, how to cancel her grandmother's various social security accounts, or how to close the medical account that is still running for automatic drug replenishment. At that time, she longed for a platform to guide her on how to do these things and solve her from the panic.

The fact is of course not. She hardly found useful guidance on the Internet. "I spent a month stumbling and stumbling to complete my grandmother's funeral, account cancellation, and inheritance. It was very chaotic and desperate during that time."

This incident touched her a lot, and later she founded Lantern, a website that helps others take care of their affairs. The experience of taking care of the funeral for her grandmother touched her and became the biggest motivation for Eddie to create the "lantern" website. With Lantern, people can plan for themselves, and they can also help elderly parents to arrange all the things for themselves. At present, most of the young people make plans for themselves.

The design of the Lantern website is very simple and the model is extremely light. If you compare it with many domestic websites, you can even use it to describe it as "simplistic". For users, Lantern can be said to be a "contemporary funeral guide." The user first needs to fill in a "following matter list", the items include: you can fill in 9 final blessings to relatives and friends, choose the form of your own funeral, write and review your own life, estate planning, how to deal with digital accounts, personal social security Complete welfare information, etc.

List service provided by Lantern free account, the page is machine translated by Google

In addition, this list also contains a lot of thought-provoking and enlightening questions. For example, Lantern will guide users to reflect on what they will leave the world, what is the best decision they have ever made, and what advice they will give to themselves when they are young.

The reason for this setting, Eddy thinks: "Because people often don't ask these questions to their dying relatives. When the relatives really pass away, everyone is very eager to know these answers."

McFarland, a 25-year-old New York girl, is such a Lantern user. McFarland said that by using Lantern, she has a deeper understanding of death, how to donate organs, how to donate money to charities, etc. More importantly, she hopes that planning and thinking in advance can reduce the burden for relatives and friends. "This is also a major event in life that cannot be perfunctory. I don't want my loved one to experience the pressure, confusion and conflict of choice."

Gentlely sell to users

Eddy said that having a will is not the same as making advance plans for the end of life. "Even if you don’t have a penny in your account after your death, your relatives and family members have many other things. Whoever is responsible must be in advance. consider."

One of the biggest challenges facing products that talk about death is how to connect with users more gently. Eddy said: "Even if it is a completely virtual product, make sure that users really feel the connection between people." "We use a lot of compassionate words; our images, all illustrations are specially designed by illustrators."

Lantern website homepage visual style

In order to make it easier for users to accept, Lantern's service is divided into a free version and an advanced version. The advanced version of the account has a richer personalized list customization function, as well as greater cloud storage space and other rights, and the price is 27 US dollars a year.

User rights of Lantern paid accounts

In addition, various free tutorials are also a bright spot for Lantern to attract users. For example, there is a tutorial called "Coffin Comparison: Differences in Shape, Design and Cost", which is very hardcore. For young people, Lantern wants to play the role of a teacher. Its tutorial includes: How to treat the funeral of relatives and friends and what needs to be done? How to pay attention to the proportion of speech and behave appropriately? What should I pay attention to when talking about death with people of different identities and age groups? How to keep the mother's memory of the child? How to close an individual's online account under different circumstances?

Lantern's competitor Cake is more sophisticated. They plan to provide automated customization services for different types of users. For example, "Did you use this service because you just lost a person, or because you have a child, or elderly parents, or because a celebrity has just passed away and you have an existential crisis?" Cake founder Suelin Chen said, "We are trying to automate customization based on what we know about this person."

Cake founder Suelin Chen and co-founder Mark Zhang

At present, the business models of such websites are relatively similar. Eddy revealed that Lantern is trying to cooperate with life insurance companies and hospitals. They also tried to promote to the human resources departments of various companies, hoping to give Lantern's funeral planning as a corporate benefit to employees like McFarland who wanted to do funeral planning before his death.

"This is a blue ocean market." She said that some companies have begun to reconsider their health plans for employees. Studies have found that being able to talk about mortality makes people happier and improves interpersonal relationships. For employers, in addition to gym membership and afternoon tea, aftercare planning services may make employees happier and more productive at work.

Millennials' transformation

Eddy's goal is to make Lantern the first choice for digital natives to mourn their loved ones or make end-of-life planning. Many people in the industry believe that Lanterns will open up a huge, untapped market, which is especially attractive to millennials. Millennials are accustomed to finding everything online: renting a house, falling in love, looking for a job... Digital tools to help them manage death may also be more popular.

The Washington Post has reported that many young Americans feel that funerals should be a celebration of the cycle of life, rather than a sad funeral ceremony. These young people hope that when they die, the funeral can be broadcast live on social media for global netizens to witness, and by the way like it.

Independent developer Bergwall developed a death reminder app WeCroak in 2017, which can update the number of new students and deaths worldwide in real time. He feels that the service of aftercare planning is different from making a will. "The point is how we can handle affairs in an orderly, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally manner, so that we can now enjoy life and live in the present, instead of struggling with death. Who can get anything later."

More and more companies are smelling business opportunities and entering the service areas of digital wills, digital estate planning, and Internet funerals.

"When we can personalize our death through our funeral format and planning, we also have more control over the biggest uncertainty in life." Suelin Chen said, "This is a positive thing— -Accept that we are not an immortal reality."

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