How this entrepreneur created a million-dollar business out of his “near-death” experience
Bengaluru, India | Red Newswire | Jan 3, 8:00 AM IST
In 2010, doctors told 39-year old Jon Loew that he has just a few months to live as his central nervous system was growing week day by day. He says he went through an excruciating pain and couldn’t hear or see properly. He equated his experience to “Hell in a biblical sense” as he was very much concerned for his children – then 5 and 8 years old.
He often used to think, “What’s going to happen when I’m gone? Who will [my kids] talk to?” he wanted to be there for them even if he wasn’t physically present and so he videotaped all his messages for them to watch at major future events such as their birthdays and graduations.
Thankfully, these messages were not required after doctors finally found a cure for him. He took the therapy for a year and is now fit and fine. However, even after getting well, he couldn’t let go of this idea – creating video memories that could speak to your future generations.
Thus, Loew launched Keep Tree in 2011, a service that allows users to record a video and schedule it to be released on particular days. There is no surprise that the company has raised $5 million till date and has over 50,000 customers.
With free plan, you can record a 45 minute video and schedule it within a 30-day time frame. The other paid plans allow you to schedule your videos within next 99 years!
Loew remarks this is not a new concept. “People have been trying to communicate with future generations forever. They’ve recorded their stories in hieroglyphics, message in bottles, the Bible,” he says.
Keep Tree uses cutting-edge technology that stores videos in digital format allowing them to be converted into any of the emerging methods – even virtual reality.
The company has also found a solution for a major startup problem – “going belly up”. Loew says, “We have funds set aside in separate account that’ll be used for storage of existing videos. As long as email or cell number associated with that video and a date to be released, it’ll go out whether there’s a human left on Earth or not.” There are other plans in case the company outlasts a customer.
Families are using it to stay in touch over the distance and holidays. The company has started a separate branch called Troop Tree for connecting military families and provides them free service.
Loew says his illness was a gift because it has given him a different perspective of the world and not just a business opportunity. He says, “I see world differently than I did. I got a wake up call at 39 that most people get when they’re 70 and have their first heart issue. I’m the luckiest guy alive because I made it.”