Following the demise of a loved one is never a fun time. And while those in charge of planning and organizing the proceedings will do an incredibly difficult task very well, many mourners across Africa feel that something is still lacking and they’re right.
End-to-end funeral service (E2E) companies have been springing up in Africa recently and the continent’s emerging middle class is one of the reasons why.
E2E funeral services provide families with a full set of products and services, from choosing a coffin to transporting the deceased from the funeral home to burial or cremation, usually within 24 hours of death.
SOKNA, an Egyptian firm that provides end-to-end funeral services to commemorate the departed and make the process easier for their families, has raised $1 million in a seed round led by major regional and international investors.
Mentors Fund, SBX Capital, ACE & Company, and Kabnoury Ventures are among the investors, as are a group of highly strategic angel investors led by Onsi Sawiris, Co-founder and Managing Partner of HOF Capital in New York, Dr. Khaled AlMutabagani from Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Sadek El Sewedy and Farouk Kadous of ElSewedy Family Capital, Hisham Halbouny, Partner at London-based Mansour Capital.
According to Onsi Sawiris, SOKNA’s team performs with an unusual combination of compassion and tech-fueled efficiency. For far too long, Egypt’s funeral business has been stigmatized and fractured. The company feels it has all of the components necessary to significantly disrupt this market, and it is excited to support them as they pursue their goals.
According to Ahmed Gaballah, Founder and CEO of SOKNA, “With this fresh funding and the fantastic set of partners who have joined the startup, it is ready to scale across the country and be able to serve more families during the tough moments of mourning loved ones.”
As a mission-driven organization, the company always has it’s ‘why’ in mind: to enable people to concentrate on the goodbyes rather than the paperwork and to honor leaving souls and their families by removing the logistical agony of those moments.
Since its introduction in late 2020, the firm has experienced fast growth, more than tripling in size in the last year alone.
SOKNA currently has operational ties with 20 hospitals and corporations in Greater Cairo, has over 70 vendor partners, and has performed over 2,500 funerals.
The firm’s employment has grown to include more than 50 full-time employees who provide a full range of professional funerary services from start to finish.
SOKNA offers assistance with releasing burial licenses and paperwork, body processing, cemetery set-up, transportation, hall and condolences service bookings, obituaries, bespoke sadaqa handouts, and post-loss support, among other things.
Funerals in Africa have improved exponentially in recent years. This is largely due to end-to-end funeral solutions. End-to-end funeral service providers aim to help those in need and give back to the community.
They do this by offering essential services, such as organizing and transporting bodies, providing a burial service, adapting to local customs and traditions, helping with legal paperwork, and more.
By providing families with holistic care, funeral service companies can have a positive impact on the communities in which they operate.
SOKNA is also actively working to change the culture of death discussion. The organization has established a Pre-Planning Program, which allows people to make logistical decisions ahead of time to ensure more peace of mind for themselves or their loved ones when the time comes.
SOKNA has negotiated a number of corporate agreements that allow employers to assist their employees during times of loss by sponsoring, subsidizing, or obtaining discounted prices for services as part of their employee benefits.
The business end of the funeral services sector in Africa has been given a boost as companies look to change people’s perceptions around funerals, and create a more dignified way of observing deaths.
Funeral services experts in East Africa especially are working with international funeral providers to improve the quality of end-to-end funeral services.
The move which is aimed at enhancing the dignity of the deceased and their loved ones will see families spared from undertaking preparations and seeing loved ones pass away at homes, or in morgues.
Featured Image: SOKNA Team
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