Social media after death

Israeli start-up LifeVU brings whole new meaning to afterlife.

Social media after death - LifeVU brings new meaning to afterlife (photo credit: Courtesy)
Social media after death - LifeVU brings new meaning to afterlife
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In a world where social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, Israeli start-up LifeVU is revolutionizing social networking for the afterlife.
Based in Jerusalem, the web-based platform is the brainchild of co-founders Elazar Cohen and Shlomo Silverstone, two friends who came up with the concept of memorializing the departed while having coffee at university four years ago.
"We thought that all this world is technology and we were thinking about what's missing and then realized hey, the death care industry! So we took a road-trip to America to learn more and we realized the need of that industry online," Cohen says.
Silverstone says the pair noticed a lack in that industry for remembering the deceased and showing their legacy. He adds it was when Cohen's sister Elisheva tragically passed away that the project took-off.
"All of the social networks now just have solutions for people alive. LifeVU only have things that are tailored for the after-life," he says. 
LifeVU builds a profile page in a way that serves the whole legacy of a man or a woman. Logging in through one's Facebook profile, family and friends can view pictures, share memories, send posts and messages and become an integral part of a loved one’s legacy.
The website also enables users to light a memorial candle for the departed, share a story about them and send a virtual wreath. 
"This is about real people; it's about honoring their legacy and also about you building your own legacy as well. There's a huge market in the US for pre-planners for their arrangements to build their own legacy," Silverstone adds. "More than 70 percent of 50-plus people have already pre-planned their after-life arrangements. Not only the funeral, they decide if they want to be buried or cremated, if they will have an open casket or not."
"LifeVU comes in because it gives a chance for all those millions of pre-planners to also plan not only their arrangements but also their legacy. Instead of the family and friends after their deaths to send the funeral home an obituary, they write in their own words what they have achieved in their lives."
Cohen says the pair sent the site to 20,000 funeral homes in the US and had an overwhelming positive response. "We want people to get the feeling that there is a real need in the market for such a website. The market is ready; this will change the whole funeral industry."
Silverstone agrees and says that although the focus is now on real people, LifeVU Pet is next on the horizon.
"LifeVU is the real future by providing the first and only social network for the death care industry worldwide."