We are all familiar with the rituals that surround the grieving process. Condolence cards are collected. The obit is submitted. The funeral is planned. During that time, grievers might be bombarded with well wishers looking to help out. But in the weeks and months after a tragedy, they are often left to navigate life without their loved one alone.
Following their own experiences with loss, Atlanta-based husband and wife team Scott Arogeti and Jordan Arogeti thought there should be a better way to support families through grief.
“Grief is a universal part of the human experience. And we believe that the tools available to grievers are, for the most part, antiquated and insufficient,” said Scott.
The Arogetis are building new tools through Mi Alma, a social platform designed to remember lost loved ones and support the bereaved at the same time.
Get To Know Mi Alma
Jordan describes Mi Alma as something like a collaborative profile for the “extraordinary ordinary person” that passes away.
“Unlike celebrities, athletes, or politicians that have a great track record on the internet…a teacher, firefighter, veteran or pediatrician [typically] don’t have that same opportunity to collect the stories from the community they’ve impacted at large,” she added.
Family members create a page and share the link with specific people. Those who join the Mi Alma page can post memories, photos, anecdotes, and well wishes. This allows an obituary to be testimonial and updated by community members.
The link also serves as a central location to organize meal trains, fundraising pages, and third-party support efforts. This can help ensure well-intentioned assistance is pointed in the right direction to best support grievers.
Privacy is top of mind for the young platform.
“The family has complete control over who receives a collaboration link and who has the ability to share content,” added Scott. “The pictures aren’t searchable. You can’t go to Mi Alma and search a person’s name and just all of a sudden be on their page. The family has to make a decision on who they want to share [the page] with and the family can also block a user.”
The Obit Gets An Update
Beyond being a place to collect memories, Scott said Mi Alma is designed to “bridge the disconnect between supporters and grievers.”
Atlanta native Greer Mendel said she experienced the need for Mi Alma after her husband Jarrod passed away unexpectedly in May of 2021.
Friends and family rushed to support, organizing meals and helping around the house. But Greer’s thoughts quickly went to how she could preserve Jarrod’s memory for her two young children.
“This is a marathon not a sprint,” she said during the eulogy. Greer told Hypepotamus that she looked for ways to collect stories of Jarrod from those who knew knew and loved him. She initially set up an email address for people to send memories and photos. College friends, coworkers, and family members shared stories about his witty personality, kind nature, and his thirst for knowledge. She realized that “our community was grieving” alongside her, and they were looking for a place to remember Jarrod long after the funeral.
Now that Mi Alma has launched, she’s set up a page for Jarrod to share his legacy with their kids as they grow up.
Getting Mi Alma To Those In Need
The Arogetis recognize this is a difficult and emotional space in which to build a business. While the solution might not be right for everyone, they want Mi Alma to be an option for families looking for a collaborative digital memorial option.
Grievers, or those looking to provide support, can purchase a page for $100. They can also receive a page through the Community Fund. The goal is to make Mi Alma a “network of gifted pages,” the team added.
Georgia couple Michael and June Gossling said supporting Mi Alma’s growing network has been a way to celebrate the life of their son Grant, who passed away seven years ago from childhood cancer.
“He was our 4th of 5 children, and it was a very difficult time for our family. When we first heard about Mi Alma, we knew we wanted to be involved. Having a platform like Mi Alma to easily organize the support around us, both for our family and everyone that supported us, would have been a blessing. While we didn’t have Mi Alma then, we are proud and honored to gift pages in Grant’s honor so that other families will benefit from Mi Alma during their time of need,” the Gossling family told Hypepotamus.
Currently, the team is building out more B2B2C partnerships with nonprofits, hospice care sites, and houses of worship.
One such organization, Atlanta-based Kate’s Club, helps children and teens navigate the death of a parent or loved one.
“Maintaining connections with your person who died is critical to a child’s and family’s grieving process. Mi Alma has been a gift to Kate’s Club families as it allows them to do this in their own way and on their own timeline,” said Lisa Aman, Executive Director of Kate’s Club.
Meet The Team
In a sign that their platform is a needed resource, all of the outside funding Scott and Jordan have raised to date is from grievers who wished something like Mi Alma existed earlier.
Both Scott and Jordan built their careers in the Atlanta technology scene, having worked collectively for several unicorn startups and high-profile ventures in town.
They are also angel investors and startup advisors in town.
“Building a company alongside Jordan has been a joy. We’ve always communicated well and played off each other’s strengths. Building a company with her while also raising two toddlers and a newborn…that’s been the challenge” Scott said with a smile.
“This is the company that we believe we were made to build together,” added Jordan.