Today, we are so excited to announce that Eterneva has taken on our very first round of funding, bringing in an additional $1.2 million to build out what we are calling Experience Innovation to change cultural relationship with and conversation about grief, one loss at a time.
“The world needs a positive force reshaping the end of life and celebration of life experience, and Eterneva is the company to do it,” said Adelle Archer, co-founder of Eterneva.
Why Raise Money Now
Over the last three years, since our founding, Eterneva has been bootstrapped. That decision was purposeful.
Instead of raising money, we’ve relied heavily on our customers, building deep connections with them through their journeys of grief to understand what makes for an impactful memorial option and experience.
That has led us to building out an intricate 8-month journey of creating a diamond from cremated ashes that reflects the loved one behind it, including personalized videos in packaging and handwritten notes, to personalized video updates throughout the process.
“Our journey is our muse, our place of constant innovation, and our goal is to change our customer’s relationship to grief,” said Archer.
The time has come for us to go even further. Our new round will allow us to invest in the latest technologies and resources needed to make this memorial experience as personal as possible. Because grief is a journey, and everyone’s is different.
Here is what you can expect to see from us.
Interactive Dedication Pages as Storytelling Hubs
Soon, we’ll be launching new interactive Dedication Pages that will serve as homebase for you, your family and your friends throughout the ashes to diamond process.
On these pages, you’ll be able to customize the language, ask friends and family to add in fun facts and stories about your loved one, and share updates from renowned scientists growing your memorial diamond individually.
“We’ve long been disappointed with obituaries because we find they offer an abridged set of facts, and leave out all the colorful stories that would give you an idea of who that person really was,” said Archer.
“So we’ll be launching new interactive Dedication Pages, for the amazing loved ones we’re honoring, so we can capture their story better, give their community a space to tell great stories about them too (condolences will take place elsewhere), and allow friends and family to follow along the diamond journey.”
A US-Based Memorial Diamond Growth Lab
We’ll also be opening one of the first US-based memorial diamond growth labs. Our goal here is three-fold:
- To provide loved ones a spot where they can visit and see the process in person, if desired.
- To operate a lab in which we can continue to innovate hand-in-hand with those customers as we build new technologies that make this process even more remarkable.
- To bring everything closer to home, because we know in our gut how much that matters.
“This year, our scientific team will begin growing diamonds in Austin, Texas,” said Archer. “This will allow customers to more easily come to see the process first-hand, and perhaps even put their loved one's carbon in the machine themselves.”
Partnerships to Make Innovative Memorial Options Easy
We can’t do this alone. Changing a cultural conversation around grief is no easy task. And so much of how you begin to process a loss occurs in the days and weeks following.
Our goal is to make those days more meaningful, and we’ll be partnering with funeral homes, crematoriums, and veterinarian offices to offer our innovative service to their customers, who are eager for better memorial options.
“The death care industry is a massive, growing market with no soulful solutions. When you lose a really close connection - a parent, a sibling, a child…you want something special to remember them by. Much of the death care industry is failing people - more specifically, an entirely new generation of consumers who want personalization and meaning in all aspects of life,” said Garrett Ozar, Eterneva co-founder.
Building Our Tribe
When you are building an organization that touches at the soul and the true meaning of life like this one, you need believers, not just investors.
“We thought a lot about what kind of investors we wanted to have on our team. Garrett and I are very growth-minded co-founders, and big believers in the tenant, ‘You’re a product of your environment, surround yourself with the best,’” said Archer.
“So, we made a list of the entrepreneurs we respected most and hoped might get involved with us. But first, we agreed upon one very important thing: we would only take money from investors who are raving fans of what we're doing and believe deeply in Eterneva's mission.”
Here are those that met the criteria:
- Eric Korman, prior Ralph Lauren president and founder of luxury fragrance company Phlur
- Ian Lopatin, the founder of Spiritual Gangster
- Suhail Doshi, the founder of Mixpanel
- Brett Hurt, the founder of Bazaarvoice
- Dan Graham, the founder of Build-a-Sign and Notley Ventures
- Brant Barton, the founder of Bazaarvoice and Chairman for 1% for the Planet
- David Rubin, the founder of OjoLabs
- AJ Bruno, the founder of TrendKite
- Brian Cruver, the founder of AlertMedia
- Jessica Ewing the founder of Literati,
- Manish Patel, the founder of Nutrabolt
- John Banczak, the founder of TurnKey
Each of these investors are entrepreneurs themselves, but also active in non-profits, and building businesses and organizations that better the world. Better yet, these investors are local to Austin, giving us ample opportunity to build deep, in-person connections the same we do with our customers.
Here is what a few of them have said about Eterneva:
- “There’s a real B2C renaissance happening in Austin right now, from EverlyWell to Aceable to Literati, and Eterneva is a shining example of the remarkable consumer innovation we’re uncovering here. They’ve got the potential to be the Airbnb of the funeral industry; bringing a human-centric brand vision to an industry ripe for disruption.” - Dan Graham, the founder of Build-a-Sign and Notley Ventures
- “I believe in the business of remembrance. It’s a social industry that gets very little attention and it’s unfortunate. I would have done this for my dad in a heartbeat. It would be nice to have something to remember him by. I know my mom would cherish it. I’m proud to fund Eterneva to help other loved ones have the opportunity to cherish the ones they have lost.” - Manish Patel, the founder of Nutrabolt
- “I went way outside of my normal investment criteria with Eterneva, because they’re a fantastic team doing something very special for people. It's exciting to see a great business opportunity align with such a great cause of changing the experience around loss.” - Brian Cruver, the founder of AlertMedia
- “Eterneva is led by a very passionate and driven team and is focused on a very important cause of eternalizing our loved ones. I lost both of my parents years ago and know firsthand how limited the options were to celebrate their life. It is an honor to be among their first investors in such great company and in such a beautiful, memorable product matched with incredible customer service.” - Brett A. Hurt, founder of Bazaarvoice, Coremetrics, and data.world
- “I invested in Eterneva because it has the rare combination of a great team, a huge, untapped market and a social cause of changing people’s relationship to grief and remembrance that resonates with me." - David Rubin, the founder of OjoLabs
We Aren't Alone
We are incredibly excited for the next phase of Eterneva and everything we’ll be releasing over the coming months. Luckily, this tribe we are building here is a much larger trend as we all grapple with better end of life and memorial options.
This industry has not seen innovation in more than 100 years. Over the last few, we’ve seen new personalities and advocates pop up like that of Caitlin Doughtery of Ask a Mortician, or Sheryl Sandberg with her new OptionB blog and support groups.
Even on Netflix, actresses on some of the streaming app’s most popular series go to grief groups (Dead to Me), they openly discuss end of life wishes (Grace & Frankie), and we begin to work at not sweeping grief under the rug.
There is a cultural movement happening here around loss and grief. It is a movement happening in general around life, and living it better, which also means grieving better, dying better, and leaving behind a better legacy.
I was told growing up that there are three things you don’t talk about at the dinner table: politics, religion, and death.
But in 2019, politics are never far from earshot. Religion and spirituality can be found in yoga studios across the country and top-ranked meditation apps.
Death is the next conversational frontier –– an analog topic for our digital age, and an opportunity to build deeper connections to ourselves, our families, our friends, and each other.
Thank you all for being here on this journey with us.