Cuba-backed Mark Eterneva raises $ 10 million to turn his loved one’s ashes into diamonds – TechCrunch

The loss of a loved one is perhaps one of the most traumatic things a person can experience.

When it comes to commemorating someone after their death, most people think of planning funerals and / or choosing coffins or headstones. And those things are usually done with the help of a funeral home.

Enter based in Austin Everlasting, which you’re building a rare direct-to-consumer brand in the end-of-life space. The four-year-old startup creates diamonds from cremated ashes or the hair of people and pets. It is a very unusual business, but it seems to be resonating with people who are looking for a way to keep a part of their loved ones close to them after their death.

Since its inception, Eterneva has seen triple-digit sales growth, including in 2020, when it doubled its revenue, according to CEO and co-founder Adelle Archer. And today, the company announces a “Oversubscribed ”$ 10M Series A funding round led by Tiger Management with participation from Goodwater Capital, Capstar Ventures, NextCoast Ventures and Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban. (For those unfamiliar, Tiger Management is Julian Robertson’s hedge fund and family office, from which Tiger Global Management was descended.)

“It was an extremely competitive round,” Archer told TechCrunch. “We received three term sheets and we were able to put together a star investment pool.” That investment group included Capstar Managing Director Kathryn Cavanaugh, who also joined Eterneva’s board of directors; Lydia Jett – one of the Softbank’s top partners overseeing its $ 100 billion Vision Fund and Kara Nortman, Managing Partner of Upfront Capital, one of the first women to become a managing partner of a venture capital fund and co-founder of Angel City with actress Natalie Portman.

Archer and co-founder Garrett Ozar launched Eterneva in the first quarter of 2017 after working together on BigCommerce. The company’s origin story is a very personal one for Archer. Her close friend and business mentor, Tracey Kaufman, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and ended up passing away at the age of 47. With no close relatives, Kaufman left her cremated ashes to her aunt, best friend, and Archer.

“We started looking for different options, but every website we came to was so mediocre, shady, and overwhelming,” recalls Archer. “Tracey was the most amazing person, and I felt like when you lose notable people, you need better options to honor and commemorate them.”

At the time, Archer was working on a diamond lab startup. During dinner with a diamond scientist during which she was discussing the death of her mentor, the scientist said, “Well, you know, Adele, there is carbon in the ashes, so we could get the carbon out of Tracey’s ashes and make a diamond “.

The thought blew through Archer’s mind.

“I knew I had to do that, 100%. Tracy was such a vibrant person, she suited her so perfectly, ”he said. “And I would have a part of her with me all the time.”

Image credits: Eternal; Co-founders Garrett Ozar and Adelle Archer

It was the first diamond created by Eterneva and gave Archer the opportunity to be a customer of his own product, which he believes has helped create an experience for his other customers. Soon, he “fully focused” on the idea, which he saw as a way to give grieving people “glow and healing and a beautiful way to honor loved ones.”

Since its inception, Eterneva has created nearly 1,500 diamonds for more than 1,000 clients. That You can make colorless or almost any color, including black, yellow, blue, orange, and green. The entry price of an Eterneva diamond is $ 2,999 and that goes up according to size and color. Pets represent approximately 40% of Eterneva’s business.

“We see ourselves as the complete opposite tone to everything else in this space,” Archer said. “A lot of people are trying to figure out planning and logistics towards the end of life. Our goal is to help people move forward and build a platform for celebrating life. “

The process to create the diamond is complex, according to Archer, and takes 7 to 9 months. The intention is to take the client along the journey sharing the process with him at each stage through videos and images.

“We do it in parallel with his grief processing, which is super isolating,” Archer said. “Usually they are in a different place with their pain than when they started.”

One of the plans with the new capital is to allow more people to participate in person in the process, such as starting work on the machine or telling the jeweler stories about your loved one and creating a custom design that could have small details that represent aspects of the life of your loved one.

The company also plans to use the money to scale its funeral home channel program nationwide through business partnerships and scale its operations and capacity in Austin to meet demand.

Eterneva relies on the fact that more and more “people no longer want traditional funerals.”

“They want personalization and meaning,” Archer said. “We plan to evolve the platform with different products and services in the future.”

The startup also wants to continue creating awareness around its brand. Recently, more than a dozen videos on TikTok about their diamonds go viral, according to Archer.

Prior to Series A, Eterneva raised a total of $ 6.7 million from angels and institutions. Its initial round was a $ 3 million financing led by Austin-based Springdale Ventures in 2020. Mark Cuban first became an investor in the company when Archer and Ozar appeared on Shark Tank. Cuban acquired a 9% stake in the company in exchange for a $ 600,000 investment. Despite claims that the company was a scam, Cuban has stood by the science behind it and put money in the last round as well.

By email, he told TechCrunch that he sees an Eterneva diamond as “a unique and socially responsible way to stay connected with loved ones.”

“There are still many advantages and growth in his future,” Cuban wrote. “So I doubled down.”

He went on to describe creating a diamond from the hair or ashes of a loved one as “such an intense personal commitment.”

“Eternava takes a very emotional and difficult attitude and helps people walk their journey in a trustworthy way that I don’t think anyone else can come close to,” Cuban added.

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