Lalo's Launch Announcement
Lalo’s Launch Announcement
Most people don’t like to think about death and even fewer see it as a start to a career path. After 8 years of working at Amazon selling Instant Pots and launching a failed baby diaper brand, building an app focused on loss wasn’t on my BINGO card either.
Then the pandemic happened, Kobe died suddenly, and George Floyd started a movement. Life was too important to live on auto-pilot. For me, it was a point in time where I literally could not stomach another chime call (amazon’s 2-star zoom competitor) or a meeting about socks and underwear (I ran Amazon’s private brand clothing product team). So, I took a leave of absence from amzn to figure out what was next for me.
During that time, I decided that I wanted to work on something that mattered, where innovation was slow, and where I could make a difference. I had no idea where to start…but kept going back to a moment in the recent past where I stood at my dad’s grave. I was there with my wife, 9 year old daughter, my sister and her family. My wife turned to me and asked me to tell a story about my dad and I had nothing to say. I was only 25 when he died, my parents were divorced so I saw him every other weekend, and we were immigrants with stories spread across continents. The stories of his life weren’t easy to come by and now when I desperately needed them, it was too late.
I decided to write my dad’s biography. I interviewed my relatives in Bolivia, found his roommates from University of Kentucky, and verified dates on ancestry.com. It was a lot of work but very cathartic and it connected me with friends and family on a deeper level. Despite all the benefits, the amazonian in me thought “…but how can it scale?”.
I started to tinker with what a solution could look like, going from sketches in a notebook to embarrassingly bad wireframes. I talked to potential customers, ex-coworkers, family, and some of my best friends…finally I felt like we had something worth investing in. Honestly I knew very little about Venture Capital, so I bootstrapped with my own $. I connected with very talented designers/developers/UX-researchers and took my designs from bad to great.
The next few months were a blur of working with an offshore dev shop that started well but ultimately failed to deliver, learning all I could about VC, getting rejected time and time again and nearly giving up on outside funding. Then Twitter happened. I posted a 90 second video talking about what we were building and like magic I raised ~$170K in 1 week. We had new life, hired our own dev team, accelerated building, and launched a beta 2 months later.
After months of being in beta, hundreds of users testing the app, countless customer interviews, it’s finally time. Today on May 25th, 2022, we are formally launching Lalo, a way to save your family memories online, without ads, and with full control of your privacy. The most complete family media solution in the market today IMHO (In my Hispanic Opinion). Our team has poured everything they have into this product, we’ve had ups and downs, laughs and tears, but it was worth it. We are nowhere near being done, we will continue to improve by listening to customers and working to delight them by making it easy, fun, and safe to preserve and share your most valuable memories.