Organising a funeral was too traumatic for Zolani Matebese, who developed an app to make it easier for those in mourning. He told Vutivi News that while dealing with funeral arrangements for a family member last year, he found the process of choosing caskets and funeral parlours incredibly cumbersome. The result of this traumatic experience led to brainstorming and eventually the launch of Sendoff Funeral App, which makes it less complicated to organise a funeral. Matebese, who is the CEO and co-founder of the app along with COO, Thabisile Sethaba, described arranging a funeral as “hellish, inefficient and expensive.”
“You go to a funeral parlour. You are offered a package and it’s not clear what you’re getting. You go to another one and it’s not clear as well,” he told Vutivi News. “It was a broken process, and I suppose that having had gone through something similar 20 years ago and seeing that things didn’t change 20 years later, I thought that there has to be a way to do things differently, and that idea didn’t leave me.” After consulting Sethaba, the two got to work on solidifying the idea, which Matebese described as “mind-bending.”
After working on the app for a year, it was launched in May this year, and it has had more than 900 users. “It took us quite a while to crystallise what it had to look like and the components thereof, and we had to do a lot of industry research,” he said. Matebese told Vutivi News that the app assisted in organising everything involved in funeral arrangements – from picking up the body to providing trauma counselling. “We work with formal businesses that are compliant, and these include funeral parlours, transportation for family members and for the dead body, flowers, groceries, scones, headstones, caskets, coffins, urns and even trauma debriefing,” he said.
The app also helped with the deceased’s estate. “We’ve also recently created a product for terminal patients diagnosed with terminal diseases where they can pre-plan their own funerals without burdening their families with the details,” the entrepreneur said. “You can spend from a minimum of R14,000 up to R90,000. On average people spend between R30,000 and R40,000, which is a good average for a dignified funeral service.”
Matebese said that although the app was new, he was encouraged by the number of users already. “I want us to be the Uber or Airbnb of the funeral industry,” he explained.