The Modern Prometheus

“What’s the number one killer, worldwide?” asks Jason Brennan, CEO and founder of Frankenstein, Inc, a stealth mode startup Speed of Light is bringing you exclusive coverage of. We’re sitting in the Geneva Lab of their Palo Alto campus, where he’s talking about his company for the first time.

“More than cancer and heart disease and malaria, the number one killer worldwide is of course death itself,” Brennan answers. “We could cure all the other diseases, but eventually humans will still die of natural causes, so why even bother curing malaria or whatever? What we’re doing is much bigger than that.” Frankenstein’s plan is kind of ingenious: users take a daily anti-death supplement to help slow, but not stop ageing. A user death will still eventually occur, but Frankenstein has a revival device which they say is extremely successful at user revival. Web services typically measure their uptime by how many “nines” of uptime they have (e.g. 99.99% is four nines). Brennan says their revival units are good for five nines of revival odds.

“My mother always told me about money, ‘you know you can’t take it with you when you go.’ Her solution was to enjoy your money and be charitable while you can,” Brennan says with a smile, “but I’d rather just not die in the first place.” Brennan said he’s doing this by following his mom’s advice, funding Frankenstein with the vast majority of his personal wealth. “But I’m still charitable; I’ve donated lots to teach kids Javascript, there are just so many jobs out there still, so what better way to help the kids.”

Brennan seems either unaware or unconcerned about the irony when asked about his startup’s namesake, “I mean everyone’s seen a Frankenstein movie, but I like to think our approach is a little more civilized.” When asked how it compares to the book, he said he “[hasn’t] read the book yet, but it’s on my list. I heard it’s written by a woman too which is good because I’m trying to read a few books by women, you know?”

Frankenstein is still in private testing for now, but plans to launch a public beta this winter in Europe. Despite their challenges, Brennan is excited. “We think the launch is going to be out of control. We think it’s going to be a runaway hit.”

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