With Glen Meakem's days with Becker Meakem Venture Capital winding down, what’s next for the founder of the wildly successful online auctioneer, Freemarkets?
His new endeavor is Forever, a cloud-based, personal social storage site that preserves cherished media memories— vintage photographs, audio, video and digital media—in one standard format, putting it all in a safe and secure cloud.
It’s going to be bigger than FreeMarkets, he predicts.
“I don’t want to be in a little dingy on the horizon,” he says, figuring the industry has a $2 billion market potential based on the sheer number of people in the world with family stories to preserve. “I want be leading the Normandy invasion.”
Meakem, the historian in his own family, began thinking about the archiving business back in 1991, the summer he returned home from the Gulf War. Setting out on a road trip to visit relatives, he recorded video footage of his three living grandparents along the way, capturing family stories that might be otherwise lost.
When he was done, he gave a copy to family members. “If you asked them today where it is, not one would know,” he says. “They all lost it.”
So where is a family to keep important personal records in the digital age—medical records, wills, documents as well as their personal scrapbooks? Facebook owns everything you upload on its site, he says. DropBox requires a monthly bill and shuts down accounts that fall delinquent.
Meakem did the research and found there was no permanent place to both save and share a family legacy privately, for all of eternity, assuming that clouds live forever. Any system also needed the technology to migrate different media formats—like VHS tapes or Super 8—to one standard format.
For a one-time buy in, currently $295, customers join Forever’s permanent endowment, a restricted fund managed as an endowed fund. The one-time payment secures your content for as long as you live, plus one hundred years, he says.
“We will never lose anybody’s stuff,” he adds. “Everything is triple backed up in different sites around the world and encrypted. And you own it.”
The company, based in Market Square downtown, employs 40 full-time. Since it was officially founded in May of 2012, the firm has raised $13 million. David Ciesinski, a former Heinz executive, has joined as executive vice president.
“My passion and love is setting a vision, inspiring people, leading and selling,” says Meakem of his latest venture. “I just didn’t enjoy being a VC very much. After six or seven years, I realized that I missed being a CEO.”
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Glen Meakem, Forever