Last Journey, an Indian start-up is innovating in funeral care with technology 

Delhi-based start-up emerges as India’s largest funeral services provider, transforming the funeral care segment with its innovative approach. 

   
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In a country where death is often seen as a taboo subject, and the funeral management sector has long been plagued by a lack of uniformity and exploitation of grieving families, a Delhi-based start-up called Last Journey has emerged as a beacon of hope.  

Co-founded in 2019 by Rishabh Jalan and Vikas Gutgutia, Last Journey is aiming to revolutionise funeral care in India with its innovative approach. By offering a wide range of services and prioritising compassion and support, Last Journey aims to become the largest funeral services provider in the country.

Inspiration and vision 

Last Journey’s CEO & Co-founder, Rishabh Jalan tells us that he was inspired to launch the start-up after attending the funeral of a close relative. He observed the suppressed sorrow amidst the chaos of organising the final rites and realised the need for a more compassionate and organised approach to funeral services.  

Jalan shares, “Grief festers when it is hidden away, resulting in negativity.” Motivated by this realisation, he conducted thorough research and discovered the lack of uniformity and exploitation in the funeral management sector.

“During my research, I discovered a prevalent lack of uniformity, responsibility, and instances of local monopolies taking advantage of grieving families who sought basic necessities like a refrigerated container or a hearse,” he adds.  

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Why funeral care? 

In a society where death has often been an uncomfortable topic, choosing it for a lifetime investment and building a business in that space takes a lot of courage. However, Jalan’s experience in the wedding industry and his understanding of how individuals react to intense emotions played a significant role in his decision to launch Last Journey.  

He recognised the importance of helping families to mourn peacefully and spend quality time with their loved ones during times of loss. “Making a meaningful impact entails instigating a change in people’s attitudes towards death on a broader scale. Our objective is to offer them a direct means of support, ensuring that they don’t feel adrift when faced with a bereavement, and this will be achieved through raising awareness,” Jalan emphasises.

Initial investment, revenue & innovation for after-life care 

Last Journey provides a comprehensive one-stop solution for post-mortem care. Cremation services, funeral arrangements, prayer meeting decorations, domestic and international repatriation services, counselling, dog therapy, and even pet funerals are available. Their services are available to everyone, regardless of faith, caste, or group.

According to Jalan, his start-up stands out by ensuring uniformity, accountability, and the highest quality of services through their internally designed smart software.

“We are the first respondents to a family looking for funeral arrangements of their loved ones. We ensure complete hand-holding and due to our home-grown Smart Slot Allocation System and a robust VMS, we ensure uniformity, accountability and the highest quality of services to all,” he asserts.

 Starting with services in one city, the company has now expanded to eight major cities. Talking about their presence and investments, Jalan tells us that their venture is bootstrapped, with the founders sourcing the necessary funds for establishing the organisation’s structure and logistics.

“We started with providing our services in one city and today we have grown to over eight major cities; the current Annual Revenue Runrate (ARR) is INR 20 crores,” he adds.

Meanwhile, as the start-up sets its sights on further growth, it is open to investments and is already in talks with global investors who recognise its potential and purpose. 

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Funeral industry is big 

India’s death care industry is valued at over US$ 3.5 billion and shows promising growth prospects. Last Journey has witnessed an impressive growth rate of 30 per cent CAGR which can be attributed to various factors.

Jalan feels that the awareness drive about death literacy has been instrumental in helping people understand the importance of funeral services, while positive responses from media stakeholders and industries like healthcare have further bolstered Last Journey’s progress.

“Internally, our extensive network of vendors who follow a strict modus operandi prescribed by us along with the flexibility and customization we provide to the end customer has played an integral role in establishing us as a thriving venture. We have successfully expanded the scope of our services and increased our international presence, positioning ourselves as the largest funeral services provider in India,” Jalan avers.  

Now the company aims to expand its footprint in non-metro markets and tier-2 cities in India, along with exploring new international markets. 

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Challenges in the field

Reaching a target demographic in the funeral industry is a difficult task. For Jalan, social media helps in this arena. He tells us that the company reaches its target audience through strategic marketing efforts on digital platforms like Google Marketing.

By showcasing the experiences that people have had with Last Journey and highlighting the ease and support that they provide during difficult times, the start-up has been able to effectively connect with its audience.  

However, talking about the hurdles, Jalan shares that at the beginning, the massive population of India comprising of diverse religions and their numerous denominations posed an intimidating challenge. “This complexity led us to adopt a city-wise demographic segmentation approach, empowering customers with control and openness. This strategy not only increased trust and transparency but also streamlined our last-mile operations.” 

Roadmap with strategies 

This unique start-up is focused on expanding its services with some investments. With their visionary approach, Last Journey is set to redefine funeral care not only in India but in global markets as well.

“We are soon about to close the series A funding that will be deployed towards talent acquisition, market expansion and deploying new technology at the backend. Furthermore, we are constantly developing robust relations with embassies and healthcare organizations to introduce a death care support program,” Jalan tells us.

Last Journey’s innovative approach is transforming funeral care. As they continue to grow and expand, they are bringing much-needed change to the funeral care segment, setting new standards of excellence and support for grieving families across India. 

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