Site with Kiwi input gets heavyweight backing

By Hamish Fletcher

1000Memories.com founders Jonathan Good, Brett Huneycutt and Rudy Adler. Photo / Supplied
1000Memories.com founders Jonathan Good, Brett Huneycutt and Rudy Adler. Photo / Supplied

A Kiwi business brain is breathing life into the way we commemorate the dead with a website backed by top Silicon Valley investors.

New Zealand ex-patriate and Rhodes scholar Jonathan Good co-founded the website 1000Memories.com in California, which this month caught the eye of top financiers less than a year after its launch.

1000Memories was developed so the family and friends of someone who has passed away could share stories, photos and videos of their loved one.

The idea was born when Good and his business partners, Rudy Adler and Brett Huneycutt, lost someone close to them and had no appropriate way to share feelings and memories with others online.

While Facebook does allow for friends and family to post a message on the page of someone who has died, Good said it has the wrong tone for a memorial.

"It is awkward with the ads on it and a lot of the content disappears," said the former dux of Mt Albert Grammar.

On the other hand, he said, the site creates a "treasured, emotional space" for "vividly remembering" the dead.

"[It has a] full picture photo which comes up when you go to someone's page.

"That sets the tone [for a visitor] to think about that person. It's about getting everyone who knew [that person] together, and getting all the photos out of shoeboxes, writing down the snippets and memories people have in their head. It becomes a place that can be passed down to future generations - that's very different to Facebook, which is about socialising with your friends online," Good said.

1000Memories has since attracted angel investors, raising US$3 million ($3.93 million) of capital from Silicon Valley's Greylock Partners and the financial backers of Twitter and Google.

As well as monetary support, 31-year-old Good said advice and guidance from financiers was an invaluable resource in developing the project.

1000Memories uses no advertising but Good said he plans to offer premium services that visitors can buy, which will help sustain the service in the future.

However, Good stressed the basic service would always be free.

The website also launched a page of photos and names to commemorate the protesters who died during the unrest in Egypt.

"You read about 300 people dying and we're so numb to numbers, but you look at the names and faces, and you think that could be like someone I know and relate to getting killed - it brings home the message in a different way. It humanises the cost of conflict," Good said.

The Egyptian page has been linked to Facebook more than 100,000 times.

- NZ Herald

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