Cremation, Finance, Products

Death care start-ups Recompose and Pure Cremation keep moving forward

Foundation Partners why I partnered

New ideas come to the forefront in all industries from time to time.  Some never get going, some ideas stagnate, but it is really exciting when you see some ideas and concepts catch a tailwind and continue to move forward.

In the last couple of weeks we have seen news from two death care start-ups, Seattle’s Recompose and Great Britain’s Pure Cremation, that make us believe that their masts are billowing with some wind behind the sails.

Recompose, the original human composting death care company has, as you can see in this article, announced that they are looking to raise $15 million in a new funding round to, among other things, expand their operations.  The article states that they will be opening an additional Seattle operation in 2022 as well as open a Colorado location and an additional West Coast operation in 2022.

According to the article, human composting has become a legal form of disposition in Colorado and Oregon with the expectation that California will be the next state to legalize.

Recompose’ Kent, Washington, location opened for business in December 2020, and the article states that the facility has accepted over 50 bodies with transformation completed on 25 of those bodies.  The article also points out that Recompose has about 800 pre-arrangements, or what they call “pre-compose”,  for their services at a later date.

Pure Cremation, the direct cremation affordable alternative to funerals in Great Britain, announced in this press release from Santander UK Bank, that they have undertaken a management buy out from their venture capital partner Puma Private Equity.  According to the press release, founders Bryan and Catherine Powell will increase their collective ownership to 100% after the buy out.

Bryan Powell, CEO of Pure Cremation had this to say in the press release, “This re-finance deal with Santander UK allows us to thank Puma Investments for its faith in us with a great return on its money, and means that the executive team can now take full control of a very exciting future for the company.”

According to this press release from Puma Private Equity, the venture firm invested approximately $US 10 million in the company over two tranches in 2017 and 2018.  Puma mentioned this fact in their press release,  “Since then Pure Cremation has gone from strength to strength, doubling in size each year since launching in 2015 as the UK’s only dedicated direct cremation provider.”    

Pure Cremation is uniquely situated in the direct cremation segment of the United Kingdom’s death care market.  The country’s percentage of direct cremation grew from 3% of all deaths in 2019 to 14% of all deaths in 2020 according to the the SunLife Cost of Dying 2021 Report.  In addition, according to the Santander UK press release, Pure Cremation has sold one out of every ten pre-paid funeral plans in the United Kingdom.

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  1. Well said Ron.

  2. Recompose and direct cremation are going to happen. But our profession must get back to providing the services that are needed and that only we can provide. We are lax when it comes to telling our story. We are lax at innovating to provide new and relevant services. People like new methods. They like contemporary products and ways of doing things.
    Taken to the extreme possibility, we will find ourselves in a situation in which bodies are incinerated rather than cremated; the local waste company will pick them up with the trash and treat them the same as the trash. And we are allowing other service organizations to take market share (here comes Hospice). LET’S GET BACK TO DOING FUNERALS (or celebrations of life, tradition ceremony, whatever you want to call them). Closure is a misnomer and it eliminates the need for us. But re-read the comments in this column from yesterday. We need to make our services Vogue. We need a nomenclature to replace the cop-out concept of closure. We need to market our profession and the options we can offer. One example: people like the contemporary idea of food trucks. Do a funeral and have a food truck and think about the venues that concept can support.
    Let’s deliver comfort and confidence. People need help to get that accomplished and we can build in that framework whether direct cremation, decomposing, or whatever is the final disposition. Focus on the living must return to Che forefront.

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