Vator Box pays its respects to Respectance and Geni

Bambi Francisco Roizen · March 24, 2008 · Short URL:

This week the Vator Box spans the human life cycle -- from birth to death -- by rating pitches from Geni and Respectance.

Respectance is a site where users can create posts dedicated to loved ones who've died.

While there is a genuine human need to share the grief over losing a loved one, our panel -- Bambi Francisco, Ezra Roizen, John Shinal and Kirill Makharinsky -- isn't so sure that alone will be a big enough driver of traffic to make Respectance succeed.

Still, the sympathy market in the U.S. is worth half a billion dollars a year, and Respectance could become the place for electronic, personal memorials, suggests's Bambi Francisco.

See an earlier interview she did with Respectance co-founder Richard Derks.

It could also draw an audience beyond those posting memorials, given the morbid fascination we humans have with death. One memorial I saw was for a group of teens from a single Welsh town who had all committed suicide in the same year.

Most people slow down at accident sites, and hundreds of millions of readers have bought books written by Stephen King, to get a glimpse of death from a safe distance. That same curiosity could prompt people to check out Respectance.

Geni, on the other hand, is all about tracing your birth, and connecting with other family members and distant relatives.

The company has an ambitious goal, according the this pitch from CEO David Sacks, is to have the entire world map their family tree on the site. 

While the company has a lot of competition, in the form of, and others, it also has an experienced management team.

(Editor's note and full disclosure: and both have received investments from Peter Thiel.) 




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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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