How Startups breathe life into India’s funeral services
Online funeral services – You can never plan for death and the funeral process that follows is difficult at the time of bereavement. At a point where the family is supposed to be together grieving and mourning,
they are instead caught up in arranging the logistics,
haggling with the vendors and getting things ready for the funeral. What makes the process tougher is that most from the present generation do not know how to conduct the last rites and face problems in conducting it.
Economic times wrote about Anthyesti Funeral Services which is an Online funeral service – You can never plan for death and the funeral process that follows is difficult at the time of bereavement. on Mar 28, 2017, and it states like this. Addressing the gap are startups like Anthyesti, who have ventured into the organized funeral management services – a category that is unorganized and unstructured with a number of local service providers.
Kolkata-based Anthyesti -Online funeral service helps people organize funerals across various religions and communities. Hearse vans, embalming, mobile freezer boxes, specific community priests, shraadh service, catering, domestic and international repatriation of human remains, pre-planning of funeral packages are the services that the startup offers.” Being an emergency service we operate 24/7,” says Shruthi Reddy, MD and CEO of Anthyesti Funeral Services.
An electrical engineer by graduation, Reddy worked as a software engineer for nine years before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. “Life was very smooth for an IT Professional, but the thirst of doing something out of the box prompted me to take the big leap,” says Reddy who launched Anthyesti in March 2016.
For startups in the space, the idea of using technology to invigorate this industry is proving to be successful. “Nowadays technology has become a crucial part of our livelihood whereas for any situation we tend to go online and look for a solution. I believe the online platform holds great potential and opportunity not only for online funeral services but for any other solution,” says Reddy.
We also have tie-ups with hospitals. So, most of our clients approach us both through online and offline platforms,” informs Reddy. The company is also working on a franchise model to expand its services in different metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
Anthyesti has served close to 150 funerals with revenue of close to Rs. 6 lakh. “Responses have been very positive and the growth has been quite well since the more we went deep into the services there were quite a lot of windows of opportunity which opened up. New services were introduced which helped our clients. There has been a steady increase in the turnover,” adds Reddy. Bootstrapped at present, Reddy invested close to Rs. 10 lakh in the startup.
The services offered by these online startups usually attracts nuclear families and professionals who have migrated within the country and are looking for more organized options during difficult times. “We are currently targeting mostly the middle class and upper middle class as a potential market,” says Reddy.
While there is a clear market the startups in the sector have not had it easy since it is an unusual business to operate in. “Facing the customer in a grieving situation to market online funeral services is still the biggest challenge that we faced and are still facing. Creating a space for professionalism has been another obstacle,” adds Shruthi Reddy.
“My biggest asset is my team which I feel is the biggest barrier to entry in my industry. It’s very difficult to motivate, and encourage a bunch of 12th class pass outs and graduates to serve the hearse van industry professionally,” she says.
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