Tech | May 8, 2021 3:19 pm

The CEO of a Funeral Startup Looks Back With Regret

The unsettling side of startup culture

What happens when startup culture converges with death and dying?
Anton Darius/Unsplash

Looking at the world of “Uber, but for x” startups can be a strange experience — especially when that business model ventures into things that are very far removed from riding in cars. There was an Uber for private investigators, for instance — though that turned out to be more of a Ponzi scheme than anything else. And apparently there was also a startup described as “Uber for cremations” — though it turns out that it had its problems as well.

At The Guardian, Alex Kruger shared his experience as the CEO of a startup called Grace. Kruger himself describes it as “like Uber, but for cremations,” while a New York Times article from 2016 alluded to Grace “tackling all of the issues that can overwhelm family members coping with grief after the death of a loved one.”

Kruger discussed about his experience with Grace as one that shaped him in ways he wasn’t happy with. “Like a phoenix, I was shedding the feathers of a weaker, more genuine Alex, in exchange for those of an emotional chameleon,” he wrote. “Someone who was able to look a man in the eyes and talk to him about his mother who had just been put on hospice, which typically meant she would yield a conversion within 24 days.”

All told, he seems happy with his decision to shut the company down, given the reference to his “days of hustling individuals at their darkest hour.” It’s not hard to see why this would take a toll — or why someone might walk away from such a project. Though as Kruger pointed out in the article, there are plenty of other startups looking to occupy the same space his company once did.