7 things about start-ups and death you may not know!

June 5, 2018, 10:14 a.m.

Death, rather ironically, involves a lot of thinking outside the box...

From who we are as individuals, to the company we keep, there’s a culture of keeping to the way things ‘should’ be done.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last ten years of being an entrepreneur, it’s that people all around so readily put things into boxes - whether intentional or not.

Sure, my start-up involves boxes of a certain kind...but the concept is certainly very much outside the box!

That’s why I wanted to tell you a few things about start-ups, death and out-of-the-box thinking…

1. Death can be translated to the digital world

For years I have known I wanted to use technology to lift the lid on the death industry, so that both customers and suppliers could have access to choice, exposure to innovative products, and can sell their services and wares to anyone. When I say anyone, I mean anyone at anytime not just ‘when the time comes’. More people than we realise are curious about death because it literally happens to everyone!

2. Death is still taboo but it can be broken

Talking about death is taboo, at least in the western world anyway. For more than 20 years I’ve known I want people to start having those crucial conversations...but death is considered an unmentionable subject, right? Out of my friends, family and all of you that I have met on planes, trains, in the street, and at work - I’ve only come across five people who didn’t want to talk about death. Talking about death is taboo – put a group of potential investors in a room and they believe it is initially, but believe me, it really isn’t. More people than you think are prepared to have conversations about death - and it usually turns out to be more fascinating than morbid!

3. Passion over experience...or both?

Boy, do we do some research in the market we’re playing in! If we spent our money on an ‘expert’ it’d have to be someone who matches our values and someone willing to let us continually guide and coach them. I’m not so naïve as to think we don’t really need help, we absolutely do. Like most start- ups, we don’t have the money (yet!). But I’ve noticed we need both experience and passion.

4. Monetisation, profit and power (MPP)

I have big aspirations that we will become part of many people’s lives as the number one death planning service for you, your family and your pets. And yes, if we get our model right MPP will quickly follow. But looking at the language used by our customers in their plans, on our first huunuu promotion, I saw they really wanted choice and were starting to have crucial conversations. We are gaining traction, huunuu is growing everyday but a common question we get is ‘how are you going to make money?’ Please stop thinking you are imitating Dragons Den by asking us this question – market fit is much more important.

5. Use early adopter groups to develop your product

Early adopter groups will let you know whether you really have a worthwhile product. They can be difficult to find but are definitely out there, persist in finding them to get their input. Our early adopters are organic and I want to say a big thank you to all of you involved so far. We always need your help to grow, develop and improve.

6. Organ donation sign-ups are increasing but people aren’t having crucial conversations

Young people sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register at a hugely successful rate. Over 36% of the UK is on the Register compared to 30% half a decade ago. But the actual donation rate is lower because people aren’t having conversations with their loved ones about it. We believe talking about death gets you thinking about the life you want to live and leave.

7. Life people vs death people

Two things we can be sure of in life, are death and taxes but to experience both of these you have to have lived. Experience over the last 20 years also tells me you are either a life person or a death person, and neither group makes sense to each other. OK, so it’s not quite as definite as that, there is a group in the middle that can move either way. But essentially, particularly in a room of potential investors, the division between life people and death people is quite stark. It’s very close to home because we all know we are going to die. Some people don’t want to think about it, so we call them ‘lifers’, and for them huunuu would be more of a bucket list creator. But we know there are plenty of people out there willing to create a funeral plan. This is why huunuu works for life people, death people and everyone in between. It’s a sharing platform for your own ideas and uploads, a place to get input from friends or inspiration from others.

When it comes to dying live a little and make sure you have those crucial conversations.

Want to get involved with huunuu? There are a few ways!

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