Elevator Pitch by Peter Key for Philadelphia Business Journal
I’m Sorry to Hear LLC operates ImSorrytoHear.com, a free website where Internet users can research funeral homes, share experiences with others and educate themselves on funeral planning topics.
How it makes money: I’m Sorry to Hear allows free access to its website and gives basic vendor accounts to funeral homes for free. It only requires consumers to get accounts when they want to leave reviews. It charges vendors to have their profiles upgraded so they can customize their storefronts on the website and be optimized in search results. It also sells banner ads.
Size of market: The U.S. funeral industry has annual revenue of $17 billion. Although the industry is consolidating — as independently owned funeral homes merge and buy one another and large companies like Service Corp. International buy mom-and-pop funeral homes and other companies — as Baby Boomers age, the death rate in the U.S. will rise and the industry’s revenue should grow accordingly.
Competition: Cleveland-based EFuneral.com is the only real competitor with a website to assist the consumer in funeral planning. I’m Sorry to Hear is focused on providing an intuitive and robust search functionality to assist a family in narrowing down their options in an efficient manner as well as providing ratings and reviews to aid in decision making. EFuneral allows visitors to compare funeral-home prices and connects them to pre-screened organizations.
Business/technology it could disrupt: Unlike other major service industries such as the travel, hotel, restaurant, home-contracting, and wedding industries, the funeral industry had no dedicated website to help consumers search for information, education, and reviews until last year.
Money sought: The company has been self-funded, but would consider taking outside funding if the right investor and partner came along.
I’m Sorry to Hear LLC
CEO: Rachel Zeldin
Year founded: 2012
Number of employees: One full time, one part time
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