More than 15 million people die each day around the world according to Our World in Data. It is also estimated that each death leaves 1 to 5 close attachments behind. However, despite how big these numbers are, the death care industry has chosen to focus on the departed, ignoring those left to deal with the grief. Send-Off, a grief management startup based in the UK, is looking to change this reality as it gets ready to launch from stealth.
Founded in early April of this year by Henry Joseph-Grant, Send-Off is a Belfast-based grief management startup looking to help people deal with loss. The startup, which is yet to emerge completely from stealth mode, was the result of its founder’s personal experience back in 2015 after his son died. In a series of tweets explaining the “why” of the startup, Joseph-Grant said:
“In 2015 I had to arrange my son’s funeral. I wouldn’t wish burying your child on anyone. It’s an awful experience. For the last 7 years, I’ve experienced how the entire end-of-life industry/grief management at every step is inefficient. I’m obsessed w/ 10x’ing customer experience. Having been one of the first employees @JustEatUK It troubles me that it is literally easier to order a pizza than it is to arrange pretty much anything when you lose and grieve for someone. My team will change that and make a difficult time easier for everyone on the planet.”
The global death care services market was worth $102.58 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow by more than 10% by the end of this year. However, despite being one of the most valuable industries out there, most of its services focus on the process ranging from the preparation of the body to its burial and the upkeep of the resting place.
Anyone who has had to deal with funerary services is aware of the emotional disconnection existing in the industry at a time when empathy should be paramount. While we are still missing details on its exact plans, Send-Off promises to bring the innovation that has been missing to help people manage grief. We know this much, though: diversity will be one of its pillars.
Joseph-Grant himself is a globally recognized entrepreneur who has successfully launched and scaled startups in the tech industry such as The Entertainer UK. He has also held a leadership position in companies like Virgin Media, Just Eat, Gett, and BigDish, as well as being a mentor for TechStars, Pi Labs, and Seedcamp before founding Send-Off. However, he believes that his experience is not enough to develop a grief management solution that can adapt to everyone’s needs.
The startup recently announced that it has completed six major appointments to its advisory team in order to make diversity a priority. The appointments include the name of some of the most well-known names in their industries:
- David Buttress: Former CEO at Just Eat. He is an entrepreneur and investor based in England. He is a renowned angel investor and venture partner who has helped numerous startups succeed and has been recognized as one of Debrett’s “Most Influential People in Britain”, GlassDoor’s “UK’s Top 5 CEOs”, and London Evening Standard “London’s 1000 most influential people”
- Bari Williams: Business Attorney and Former Senior Lead counsel for Meta (formerly Facebook), She currently operates as Head of Ops at Stub Hub and VP at Phil Libins global AI studio All Turtles. She is a published author on topics like diversity, equality, and inclusion.
- Steve O’Hear: A former educator and tech journalist for TechCrunch, he currently operates as VP of Strategy at Q-Delivery scaleup Zapp. With more than 15 years of experience in the world of startups, it was just logical that he also founded his own: last100 and Beepl. O’Hear’s work for TechCrunch, The Guardian, Macworld, Times Educational Supplement, and ReadWriteWeb earned him a place in Business Insider UK ‘Tech 100’ list back in 2016 and 2017
- Eamonn Carey: Former RTE TV and Radio journalist and Managing Director at Techstars, he is now a General Partner at Tera Ventures. He has invested in over 90 companies all around the world and is a sought-after speaker for some of the world’s biggest conferences, including Web Summit, Collision, SXSW, and Mobile World Congress.
- Donovan Frew: Former CTO at Secret Escapes and StrataJat, he currently holds the CTO position at GoodLord, a PropTech startup based in London. Frew has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality, e-commerce, intelligence analysis, and telecommunications industries.
- Justice Williams MBE: Former founder and editor-in-chief of Tru Life magazine and the Women of the Year Awards. Williams is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, business coach, and trainer focused on helping women fulfill their entrepreneurial visions. In 2010, she became the youngest black woman to be awarded an MBE appointment to the Order of the British Empire by the Queen for her services to young people.
Joseph-Grant, who has an extensive list of achievements himself, said about the appointments:
“I hand picked our Advisory team to add proven, complementary experience and to be representative of the diversity of our users, I’ve never seen a startup attract the level of experience, caliber, and reputation of all six advisors so early on, it’s a real statement of intent of the world class company which we’re building here in Belfast”
As with any startup working on getting out of stealth, Send-Off surely has many details to be worked on and decided on. However, with a stellar advisory board and a clear mission, the startup is expected to launch in Q2.