Funerals are expensive. And family businesses are threatened by new technologies | small american business

“Do you see this place? My dad always used to say when we passed the local cemetery. “People are dying to enter. Ha ha! “

It was funny – at least for the first 50 times I heard it. Hey, dads have the right to tell dads jokes. But when someone dies, it’s no joke for their family. Besides the heartache, there is the cost. And people have been complaining about the cost of a funeral ever since there was … well … a funeral.

People are not in a position to negotiate the cost of a casket with a funeral home. And so they end up paying more than necessary. How much more? A casket that could cost between $ 1,800 and $ 3,300 at the funeral home can be purchased online from Titan for around a thousand dollars.

There are now a multitude of startups aiming to reduce these costs. Coffin of the Titans, for example, cannot take away the pain of losing a loved one. But it can certainly help take some of the financial pain away from resting that loved one. And he’s using technology to do it.

The Seattle-based company helps consumers buy caskets online, directly from its own website and even from Amazon. The idea is to free the bereaved from the grip of the funeral home and allow them more choice and savings.

“Most clients go to a funeral home and buy their casket and the prices are outrageous,” said company co-founder Josh Siegel. GeekWire technical site. “Managers know people don’t shop. You’re going to go to the same funeral home you’ve always been to. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just what people do. The director somehow knows he’s got you.

He is right.

Titan isn’t the only startup that wants to disrupt the funeral industry.

For example, the company that creates a video storytelling platform called OneDay for Senior Living recently raised $ 19 million to allow it, among other things, to extend its platform to funeral homes. UK based Tyde recently launched an online funeral planning service. Start-up Eterneva closed a $ 10 million round funding to enable him to partner more with funeral homes “to reach consumers looking for more meaningful and personal memorial options,” such as making diamonds from ashes or hair.

Want more examples?

There are Good Confidence, a cloud-based service that allows people to store all of their relevant financial and private information, such as passwords and the location of documents online, as well as offer their own funerals. Or Empathy, which recently raised $ 13 million “to help families navigate the logistical aspects of bereavement, including documentation, funeral or memorial arrangements, validating a will and other necessary tasks.” Lantern offers an online checklist and guide to help clients navigate their own preparation for death.

And Cremation of Comfort which allows users to take charge of the entire cremation process – from body recovery to delivery of ashes and death certificates – from their smartphones.

The American funeral market is currently estimated to be worth about $ 20 billion a year, with 2.4 million funerals each year. Dying is definitely a profitable business. And yet funerals today are treated much the same as they have been for decades. It’s an industry made up mostly of family businesses that have been doing the same things for generations.

My message to these business owners is that they had better wake up. This industry is ripe for disruption, and many startups are developing new technologies and services that will change the way we bury – and remember – our loved ones.

So yes, people “die” to enter this cemetery. And it seems that there are a lot of entrepreneurs dying to get a share of this business too.

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About Dianne Stinson

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