Series Launch: 42 Memory Lane Hail Mary


Game on

Welcome to the kick off of Underwire’s Hail Mary series with Lynne Hannah, Founder and CEO of 42 Memory Lane.

Over the coming months, Lynne and her team will document their Facebook and Kickstarter campaigns to fund their first product.

At stake? Oh, just the future of the company.

42 Memory Lane background


You have hard drives, cloud accounts, devices and boxes filled with pictures and videos. Yet there’s no easy way to secure, organize and view them at your command. It’s your family’s legacy. What happens if it vanishes?


Willa, the first digital family album. Willa lassoes every photo, video and document worth saving, makes it all editable into collections and keeps it safe AND viewable at any time in a gorgeous, dual-screen, leather-bound viewer that’s backed up to the cloud.

Want, right?

If only Lynne could get funding.

She’s talked with 187 investors and the world’s largest consumer electronic brands. Most of those convos were with men who said things like, “That’s what a tablet is for” and “Oh, my wife would love this.” Polite pass.

That didn’t stop Lynne.

A taste of her journey:

  • 5+ years of R&D

  • 200+ hundred interviews with the target audience

  • 24 in-person user tests of software features

  • 150 investors contacted (VC/Angel/Strategic)

  • 37 VC pitches

  • Convos with executives at Sony, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple

  • 2 trips to China

  • Key software features prototyped

  • First product model (built by an industrial design firm)

From customer research to investors to manufacturing—there’s no rabbit hole I haven’t been down. I realize the optics. It looks like insanity. Either it’s the best hole-in-the-market story ever, or I’m smoking crack.
— Lynne Hannah, Founder and CEO, 42 Memory Lane

Final huddle

Lynne and team are going direct to the people to prove market viability. First, they’ll launch a Facebook campaign to gather, at a minimum, 13,000 emails. Using Facebook ads, they’ll target moms and brides with ads that lead to a landing page.

Call to action: Coming soon—give us your email to learn more. Classic startup testing tactic.

When, IF, they get enough signatures, they’ll run a crowdsource campaign for Willa. With the expectation for 10% conversion, those initial emails are key for a successful Kickstarter launch.

One hitch, a set budget for the Facebook campaign. See below how touchy Facebook can be. We’ll see how that unfolds.

If this effort fails, Lynne shuts down the company.

Month One


  • Job Assignments. There are four of us, so we divvied up the work into buckets: Facebook Campaign, Kickstarter, Strategy and Assets, Photo-shopping and Editing.

  • Facebook markets defined

  • Ads completed

  • Landing pages completed

  • Website redesign from light-touch investor facing to consumer facing

  • Identified creative rewards for our Kickstarter

Facebook ad campaign mockups.

Facebook ad campaign mockups.

Work in progress home page.

Work in progress home page.


It’s hard for me to think of anything along this journey as a setback as we’re on steep learning curves, and by definition there will stumbles. But we did miss our original, albeit very optimistic, Facebook Ad launch goal because of the following:

  1. Facebook’s “Are you a bad guy algorithm?” threw us out of Creative Hub in a key meeting when we were reviewing and refining our ads. Our theory was the URL originating from the public library where we hold our meetings (hey, free parking, free meeting rooms) spooked the algorithm. (Maybe public libraries are used by nefarious people??) Literally it took a couple of days to get through their paranoia and back into Creative Hub.

  2. Our website got some honest feedback resulting in a total redo (not really a setback, but time consuming).

  3. Amazon miss-delivered a key technical item for our prototype three times (no delivery, no item, broken item) costing us two weeks.

  4. Highly unusual snow in Seattle and the flu caused havoc for a couple of weeks.

Facebook “protecting us.” Took days to resolve.

Facebook “protecting us.” Took days to resolve.

Landing page iterations for different audiences—brides, moms and grandmas. Constant tweaks to design and messaging.

Landing page iterations for different audiences—brides, moms and grandmas. Constant tweaks to design and messaging.

Key Learnings

  • MESSAGING IS FREAKING HARD! This has been the most frustrating for me personally. We know our customers really well. I’ve talked to hundreds. We did a national survey last year. We know every big and nuanced pain point. They’ve told us what they want, and we have the solutions, and still....we struggle with condensing our Landing Page content to the most pertinent points. The landing pages are key, key, key to our success. Botching their effectiveness is a big fear.

  • It wasn't until I read Richa Prasad’s article on Underwire that it clicked for me what was happening. The way she defined Hot, Warm, and Cold customers helped me understand “why” our messaging wasn't clicking for us. Right around the corner from that insight was a “what” tool from a branding executive who provided us a messaging framework template. We filled that out in minutes and it’s been a beacon of direction for everything from the landing pages to the website. I’m confident we’ll come up with what we need and expect to learn even more when we launch and can test.

  • Be patient and compassionate with ourselves. Steep learning curves can feel vulnerable. Yes, we know we’re neophytes. Yes, we know we are sometimes reinventing a wheel that the experts use every day. But doing this ourselves is the tradeoff for a high burn rate and stress of a different kind. This team is filled with problem solvers. In the end we’ll get where we need to go.


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