Family Firms Under Threat as New Tech Revolutionizes Funeral Business

bereavement, burial, cemetery

Death is no funny business, but for some people, it is a very profitable one. While the death of a loved one is a time of grief for the family, some obligations arise out of it. These obligations generally revolve around funerals. For as long as anyone can remember, many have been complaining about how expensive funerals are.

Due to the grief during this period, most families do not bargain the funeral expenses. The result is, they are charged more for what they could get for less online or on the open market. But who could blame them? When planning a Funeral isn’t exactly the kind of time people look for bargains.

However, the monopoly enjoyed by family firms in the funeral business is about to change. Entrepreneurs are setting their sights on taking a share of that money, and they are doing it using tech. Several start-ups are looking to reduce funeral costs for families. For example, Titan Casket helps consumers buy caskets online from its website and Amazon, saving them the extra expenses they’ll spend to get the same thing from a funeral home.

This is not the only company trying to revolutionize the business. The company behind the video storytelling platform, OneDay for Senior, recently raised $19 million and include funeral homes as part of its expansion plan.  Eterneva just raised $10 million to partner with funeral homes and help consumers customize memorial options. Another startup in the UK, Tyde, just launched an online funeral planning service.

Tech startups are not just getting involved in funeral homes and planning; they are interested in the whole funeral and post-funeral estate management business. There are several new companies focused on different aspects. For example, GoodTrust is a cloud-based platform where people can store all their important private and financial information.

There’s also Empathy which raised $13 million recently. The company focuses on helping families deal with the logistics that come with bereavement. Thus, it handles matters such as funeral arrangements, memorial, will validation, documentation, etc. Another start-up, Lantern, provides an online checklist for customers to make preparations for their death.

Even funeral acts that would be considered manual such as cremation, now have tech automation involved. For example,Solace Cremation is a platform that helps users handle the whole cremation process. Users can make all the necessary plans from their phone, and the company will handle the body pickup, ashes delivery, and death certificates.

The influx of tech start-ups into the funeral and bereavement business isn’t surprising. This industry is worth $20 billion in the US, which means there’s a lot of money in the death business. However, this will affect several funeral homes, most of those who still operate the traditional way. The disruption in the industry will likely affect them significantly. Funeral homes will have to up their game to stay competitive with these tech companies offering innovative products and services.

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