"We need to do something about death", said Liz Eddy, Lantern's Co-Founder and CEO by@lizeddy

"We need to do something about death", said Liz Eddy, Lantern's Co-Founder and CEO

CEO and Co-Founder of Lantern, step-by-step guidance for life before and after a death. Founder: "I build companies that tackle taboo topics. I founded my first social venture at age 15 focused on dating abuse and domestic violence education in schools" CEO: "My co-founder, Alyssa, and I call each other the kite and string. We’d rather steer clear of vanity metrics. Other than revenue/partnership development, our primary focus is on primary development"
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Liz Eddy

CEO and Co-Founder of Lantern, step-by-step guidance for life before and after a death.

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HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

I build companies that tackle taboo topics. I founded my first social venture at age 15 focused on dating abuse and domestic violence education in schools. The org has been running (on its own) for nearly half my life.


After graduating with a BBA from Parsons the New School for Design, I ran Special Projects for DoSomething.org, one of the largest global orgs for teens and social change. Then, I joined the founding team of Crisis Text Line as the Director of Communications. I oversaw brand, PR, marketing, strategic partnerships and business development--- growing the org to 12,000 volunteers, 76 million messages, in 3 countries. I left Crisis Text Line in 2018 to launch Lantern, a venture backed Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to change the way we talk about and manage end of life and death.


I earned a Masters of Science in Strategic Communications from Columbia University in 2019. I’m an active volunteer and Board member for Experience Camps, a one-week free summer camp for children who've lost a loved one. I’m also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and committee member for the Dying Well Initiative of the Global Wellness Institute. In my free time, I’m on a global search for the spiciest food.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

Lantern is your step-by-step guide to navigating life before and after a death.


We provide people and companies with all the tools and resources you need for end-of-life planning, death and grief.

What is the origin story?

Lantern began in the fall of 2018 with one sentence: “I think we need to do something about death.”


Some background: having lost my dad as a young kid, when my grandmother (my dad’s mom) died in the winter of 2018, I was tasked with all of the planning that ensued. I walked into the nursing home where my grandmother lived and was confronted with two police officers, a nurse, my grandmother’s body, and a question of “what do you want to do next?” Needless to say, the experience was overwhelming, complicated, and pretty much entirely unguided.


I started asking questions about why a better option didn’t exist and turned to Alyssa, my go-to person for cracking a difficult challenge. Together we started answering that question with “it should and we should build it.”

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

My co-founder, Alyssa, and I call each other the kite and string. We even have a matching tattoo to prove it. We’ve worked together on and off since 2012 and found a true entrepreneurial soulmate in each other. I tend to look at things from 10,000 feet up, big picture dreaming (the kite!). I get insanely excited about new ideas. I can be extremely creative and also, extremely scattered. Alyssa is the person that brings those ideas to life. She has an innate ability to keep me firmly grounded (the string!) by focusing our energy, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, then laying the groundwork that makes it happen.


Our teammates (Shae, Wendy, Shivani, Linde, Ndie, and Adeyemi) are why Lantern exists today. Shae built the foundation of Lantern from scratch. The team has taken a lofty vision and made it better than we could’ve ever dreamed. As a team, we’ve created a culture of care and support. Everyone is generous with information, willing to teach and learn, and celebrate one another. Doing this together is what makes the experience so meaningful and rewarding.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

It’s hard to envision a life without Lantern! My background is in non-profits so I think I would’ve stayed in that realm. Or, possibly doing CSR for a company that has CSR built into the foundation of the business (no marketing campaigns!).

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

Linde, our Product Manager, introduced OKRs to our team, and we are loving it! Other than revenue/partnership development, our primary focus is on engagement. We steer clear of vanity metrics. We’d rather one person find deep meaning and connection to our service than 100 that visit once.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

Helping real people every single day.

One story that forever comes to mind: Three days after Lantern went live, a friend's father died suddenly. Typically, in these circumstances, the community around the family frantically searches for things to do or say. Perhaps they send flowers or a text saying “let me know if there’s anything I can do”. We were able to offer her Lantern, a tool that not only reduces the burden of logistics on the grieving family but allows them to delegate and take people up on their offer to help. She later texted us this: "Know that the Lantern checklist is bringing my mom so much comfort. She feels so validated checking things off." Messages like this are a regular occurrence at Lantern and it’s what gets our team out of bed each morning.

What technologies are you currently most excited about, and most worried about? And why?

Most excited: Stem cell research. I took a stem cell research class in college and have followed developments ever since.


Most worried about: Deep fake technology and the ramifications of false information on the internet.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

Our technical lead, Shae, is a HackerNoon reader! When we found out we were being considered for StartUp of the Year the team was thrilled.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

You have to get comfortable with not knowing how to do things. Believing you can and should know how to do everything is largely ego-based when you’re older. When you’re young, it’s mostly because you think everyone else knows what they’re doing. News flash: they don’t. And, essentially everything is new when starting a business. You may possess certain skill sets but they’re being applied to something that hasn’t existed before. I’ve learned that the best thing I could do for myself, my team and our company is tell people “I don’t know how to x” and seek out the best possible person to help me learn.

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

Young people aren’t as afraid to end-of-life plan as previous generations. COVID-19 really highlighted this shift in our culture.

Discussing death is seen as a taboo in the US when, in reality, it’s a fact of life.

In choosing whether to discuss mortality, the real choice we are making is whether to ensure our loved ones are taken care of after we are gone… or not. Even if you don’t have a dollar to your name, an end-of-life plan is still necessary. It’s the greatest gift you can give those you love.


Lantern was nominated as one of the best startups in Brooklyn, New York in Startups of the Year hosted by HackerNoon


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