In light of the pandemic, death has made its way into everyday conversations, and now, the industry seems ripe for innovation. In fact, over the last three years, venture and seed backers have invested in dozens of companies offering products and services around death and bereavement, according to Crunchbase data. Adding to the list is Austin-based Eterneva.
Eterneva, which comes from the words “eternal” and “never forget,” is an end-of-life company that turns ashes or hair into diamonds. The e-commerce company announced Monday it raised a $10 million Series A round led by Tiger Management. Capstar Ventures, NextCoast Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban and others also participated in this round.
“The end-of-life space is so dated and transactional. This is an industry that’s going to impact all of us and yet, it’s seen no innovation and feels so out of touch with the experience that people really want to have,” Adelle Archer, CEO and co-founder of Eterneva, told Built In. “We really need better ways to honor and memorialize people, feel special and meaningful and really suit how we want to live and die today, not how we lived and died hundreds of years ago.”
Here’s how Eterneva works. When a loved one or pet dies, those grieving select a diamond color and shape on the company’s website and order a welcome kit. Customers then send about a half cup of ashes to Eterneva’s lab in Austin where the process begins. Turning ashes or hair into a diamond takes seven to nine months on average, and customers receive updates throughout the process, Archer said.
The first Eterneva diamond was made to honor Archer’s mentor Tracey Kaufman. After successfully turning Kaufman’s ashes into a diamond, Archer and Garrett Ozar co-founded Eterneva in 2017.
Since launching, the company has gained national attention. Eterneva was on Shark Tank (video below) in 2019. On the show, Cuban invested $600,000 for a 9 percent stake in the company. Eterneva has also gone viral on TikTok with videos receiving between 500,000 and 6.8 million views.
To date, Eterneva has raised $16.7 million. Archer said the company has also experienced triple-digit year-over-year growth and has begun partnering with funeral homes.
“This is just the beginning,” Archer said. “There’s so much momentum that’s happening. We’ve actually had to pause on a few partners because we don’t have enough capacity to be able to keep up with it. So a big part of this [funding] round is to add capacity to be able to keep up with demand.”
Eterneva is only the second end-of-life company to raise $10 million or more in a single funding round, according to a news release. However, several other companies in this space have raised funding lately, including Cake, which raised $3.7 million last week, and Recompose, which raised $4.7 million in March of 2020.