Stopher Bartol asks himself every morning, “What legacy will I leave behind today?” After all, Legacy.com was his creation during the Internet boom of the late 1990s, and every day the legacies of ordinary, everyday people are commemorated on the website.
Bartol, however, is happy that Legacy.com plays a behind-the-scenes role. Despite many critics having felt that Legacy.com should do more with its brand, such as prominent ads on the obituaries sections that the company hosts for newspapers, Bartol maintained that the company would not use its brand to overpower those of its affiliate newspapers.
The affiliates do not feel threatened or encroached upon, and instead view Legacy.com as a collaborator. Legacy’s brand stays in the background, so as to not outshine the brand of the newspapers.
Bartol feels this type of relationship is essential for continued business in this particular endeavor for both parties. Close to half of Legacy’s revenue is attributed to the company providing online obituaries services to these newspapers.
Bartol knows that the company’s success is not only his own. He maintains that from each employee that he interacts with, he gains some greater insight. Bartol recently hired an executive who he described as his “future replacement.” Although he has no current plans to retire, he wants to make sure there is a succession plan for the day he is no longer leading the company.
One financial obstacle in particular struck the company during its early years. Unlike other Internet companies, Legacy.com simply could not elicit support for continued operational funding. Bartol, however, was not disheartened. He decided he should target older investors who were at the point in their lives when they were reading the obituaries themselves.
With the help of a few angel investors, Legacy got the necessary funding needed to stay afloat. Within 24 months following the financial turmoil that hit many Internet business companies, Legacy.com became self-sustained.
How to reach: Legacy.com, www.legacy.com