Remento, a company focused on capturing and preserving family stories, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Upfront Ventures. The Los Angeles-based company is also launching its iOS app today after beta testing it for a year.
The company’s new iOS app is designed to give users conversation prompts to inspire family members to share stories about their lives. Once you select a prompt, you can record a conversation directly within the app. Individual stories from these sessions are then displayed in the app’s interactive playback experience, where they can be shared with other loved ones without any editing required.
Remento was founded in 2020 by Charlie Greene, who came up with the idea for the company after filming a series of interviews with his mother shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. Greene told TechCrunch in an interview that his parents recorded lots of home videos when he was growing up, and that it wasn’t until his father passed in 2001 that his family came to realize how precious these videos were, as they allowed him to hear his father’s voice. Five years ago, Greene’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and his family realized that they were on the precipice of losing stories about her life.
“Even with a background in documentary filmmaking, I didn’t know where to start,” Greene said. “We came up with a solution to record a series of conversations about my mother’s life that we placed onto this digital timeline that our family could access and add to. I discovered more of who I was by taking the time to ask her questions about her life. We quickly realized that this problem that we solved was not unique to our family. Families everywhere are facing these realities of aging relatives, and children and grandchildren who don’t know them, and that’s why we’ve created Remento.”
Greene believes that recorded conversations capture far more than cluttered photo libraries and static family trees. He says Remento is built on a foundation of neuroscience, psychology and storytelling expertise. The app is designed to make it easy to capture family stories through guided conversations. Remento aims to make it easy to get started by recommending prompts that are tailored to specific members of a family. Greene says the app is designed to break down the idea of persevering family stories into small bite-sized pieces.
The app is free to use, which Greene says reflects the company’s belief that everyone should be able to have meaningful experiences that shape their lives.
Greene says the company plans to build out a monetization model that will include additional features and functionalities. The additional features will make it easier to start conversations and improve the way that the app is able to recommend prompts to storytellers. In the future, the app will use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to automate the organization process once content is created. In addition, the company plans to add the ability for users to add photos alongside recorded conversations. For instance, if your mother is sharing a story about her high school prom experience, the functionality would allow you to add a photo of her in her prom dress.
Although Remento plans to launch an Android app in the future, Greene says it’s difficult to determine the timeline for a potential release. The company is currently focused on developing its technology and will expand availability in the future, he says.
As for the new funding, Remento will use it to expand hiring and extend current research and development efforts, including building features that will stay true to the company’s mission to help people create lasting family mementos.
The company’s seed funding round was led by Upfront Ventures, along with a group of angel investors, including Brooke Hammerling, Chuck Davis, Dan Nova, Emmy Rossum, Sam Esmail and Sarah Harden.
“I’ve been working on this project for two years at this point,” Greene said. “We have learned so much along this journey. With every beta customer we have talked to, it has been clear to me that there has never been a better time to bring this product to market. If the connections and conversations that took place through windows and FaceTime during the pandemic taught us anything, it’s to never take anything or anyone for granted. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, right now is the time for families to be connected and that’s why we’re excited to build this technology that we see not as a substitute for human experience, but really as a complement to our most cherished relationships.”