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Start-Ups for the End of Life


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"Mr. Isard said funeral directors “would rather sit across from someone and talk to them, listen to them, than have them go online and try and figure it out for themselves.” That is also one reason the death care industry, as it is called in the industry, has been able to maintain its lack of pricing transparency. But with nearly 2.6 million people dying annually in the United States, entrepreneurs see an opportunity to innovate."

"Enter the start-up Parting, founded about a year ago in Los Angeles, an online directory of funeral homes searchable by ZIP code, which allows users to compare prices and services, and view the homes’ locations."

"Another start-up in Los Angeles, Grace, is tackling all of the issues that can overwhelm family members coping with grief after the death of a loved one. There is little guidance about what to do when someone dies, said Alex Kruger, Grace’s co-founder and chief executive."

"Cake, a start-up in Boston created at M.I.T.’s Hacking Medicine conference’s Grand Hack in 2015, helps users decide end-of-life preferences, like the extent of life support or what to do with their Facebook page. It then stores the choices in the cloud and shares them with those who are designated."

2.6 million people die every year in the United States.

That seems like a lot but also I observe that it is less than 1% of our population. 

Re the site, Parting, is this an example of Dynamic Pricing? Would the walk-in price, the free listing price, and the price for a premium lising be the same? And Parting's 12% to 15% cut doesn't come from a mark-up?? I'd see it as just more wheeling-dealing among businesses, when what I'd really need was comfort and confidence.

"A team of people posing as shoppers seeks out pricing and services information from funeral homes that are unaware the information is for the site. An increasing number of funeral directors, however, are voluntarily working with Parting to put their information in the database, which now has more than 15,000 funeral homes.

Funeral homes can get a free basic listing on Parting or pay for a premium listing, which increases their visibility. If a home gets a customer through the listing, Parting collects 12 to 15 percent of the funeral bill as its fee.

It is backed by an angel investor and is increasing about 27 percent a month in searches and visitors, said Tyler Yamasaki, a founder.”

Yes, it's dynamic pricing, and I agree that it's wheeling and dealing at a time we want comfort. 

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