* The innovative online tool enables families to manage the difficult journey of bereavement with ease.
* They aim to provide an ecosystem that connects players in the Kenyan funeral industry whose worth is estimated at USD 450 million (KShs 56 billion).
* The Deathcare platform has raised $100,000 (Kshs 12.4 million) from a US angel investor to complete prototype development.
February ...6, 2023, Nairobi, Kenya – SafiriSalama.com™, a Kenya-based death tech start-up, has launched Kenya's and Africa's first end-of-life services platform. The platform offers digital death notices, memorials, and a directory of funeral service providers. With this new tool, the Kenyan death tech start-up is reinventing end-of-life planning, making the unpleasant task of bereavement in all its facets easier and manageable.
SafiriSalama.com™ which takes its name from the Swahili words “Safiri Salama,” which translate to "Go in Peace" and "Travel Safely" and are often used as a farewell during bereavement, is venturing into a territory that few others in Africa have explored.
“Africans tend to avoid discussions about death or end-of-life planning”, says John Nyongesa, the Founder and CEO. “This lack of knowledge creates an opportunity for exploitation, as people are uninformed and emotionally vulnerable when a loved one passes away. No other business deals with such a vulnerable group.”
Additionally, the end-of-life industry in Africa has undergone significant changes with the demographic shift, urbanization, and growth of a free-market economy. The traditional image of a roadside coffin and hearse supplier has been replaced by a new and evolving industry.
The end-of-life industry in Kenya has seen significant growth in recent years, estimated to be worth $450 million (KShs 56 billion) annually. However, the industry lacks a clear and user-friendly system for bereaved families, leading to issues such as inconsistent pricing, unclear industry standards, and difficulty distinguishing between competitors. The primary form of advertising in this sector is through word of mouth and reputation.
Despite Kenya’s 55m strong population having a high level of technology usage such as internet penetration, smartphone access, and e-commerce growth, the End-of-Life industry remains largely untouched by these advancements.
“In this “state of flux” bereaved families are hugely disadvantaged. You can buy a toothpick online but can’t track a coffin seller?” poses Nyongesa. “That’s ridiculous.”
The DeathTech’s goal is to create an ecosystem that connects the separate dots that make up Kenya’s funeral industry. Among the platform’s 3 digital products is “The Redbook”, a B2B & B2C product and services online directory that connects verified service providers in the funeral/grief industry with families. It features over 50 categories of direct, indirect, and accessory providers.
When grief and urgent decision making are paired, bereaved families are disadvantaged.
"Grieving families face difficulty conducting proper research and often "pressure buy" due to a lack of published prices in the funeral industry.”
SafiriSalama.com additionally offers a solution for funeral service vendors' online marketing challenges through mini websites on "The Redbook." Vendors can subscribe to showcase products, pricing, stock availability, and be search engine discoverable."
SafiriSalama.com was born in 2018 from a personal moment when Nyongesa’s son asked about his late grandfather and why he wasn't online. This led to the creation of a personal memorial website, then expanded into a public memorial website and ultimately developed into the end-of-life platform it is today.
Features were informed by research, testing, and input from bereaved families and funeral service providers."
In 2021, Nyongesa was joined by Steve Lelei, an actuarial scientist and Edith Orwako, a Project Manager, as co-founders.
The Covid-19 lockdown in Kenya that disallowed traditional committee and meetings to plan for funerals was a game changer. With an almost 85% decline in national newspaper circulation and the increase of online news consumption, the trio realized the need for a tech-based solution to provide information management and planning.
The platform developed two products: Death Notices and Memorials. Death Notices enable the creation of affordable digital death announcements that can be shared across multiple social media platforms and controlled by users.
Memorials provide a subscription to a one-stop-shop including a user-friendly noticeboard for managing a loved one's funeral process, preserving memories (galleries, links) and narratives collected through obituaries and eulogies, and enabling discovery through search engines.
The team emphasizes the importance of allowing individuals and communities to tell their own stories, rather than having a few select individuals and publications determine whose stories are worth telling. With the rise of the internet and the decline of traditional media, individuals now have the power to preserve and share their own narratives through online platforms like SafiriSalama.com's Memorials.
“Every life, regardless of status is a story” says Nyongesa, “The internet is an equalizer.”
SafiriSalama.com rolled out its beta version in November 2021 and is currently undergoing a 12-month introduction and consolidation campaign in Kenya before expanding to other African markets.
SafiriSalama.com has raised $100,000 (Kshs 12.4 million) from a US angel investor for product development. They are now in a pre-seed funding round to finance marketing, hiring, and product improvements.
John Nyongesa, CEO/Chief Product Officer
Steve Lelei, Chief Financial Analyst
Edith Orwako, Chief Capacity Manager
To learn more about SafiriSalama.com or to arrange an interview for an article, please contact us.
Media Contact Person: John Nyongesa, Founder/CEO (+254 748 808080)
Company Name: Africa Monument & Legacy Company Ltd
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 748 808080