We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck that memorialization startup Chptr used to raise millions from investors before it even launched
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- Chptr helps people share photos, video memories, and stories of a lost loved one on a mobile app.
- The startup hopes to target millennials and Gen Zers who are dealing with loss.
- It just raised a $2.1 million pre-seed round led by Lucas Venture Group and Sugar Capital.
When a loved one dies, most people follow a general plan for informing others of the loss and honoring the death: They call friends and family members, host a funeral, commission an obituary for a local paper, and attempt to process the sadness and hard feelings.
But after the coronavirus pandemic led thousands of people to confront these types of losses at once, Rehan Choudhry saw an opportunity for a way to remember those who died. Choudhry’s wife, a news anchor for CBS, was working on making video memorials for each of the earliest victims of COVID-19 in New York City, and he was struck at how the families of the victims reacted to the videos.
“The fact that somebody was able to produce a piece of content like that, that was shareable, allowed them to come together as a community and heal,” Choudhry said.
The project inspired Choudhry to start a mobile platform where anyone could make a digital memorial similar to those on the news. As he began to research the memorial space, he was struck by how outdated most memorial procedures were.
“There was this notion that memorialization was limited to 65-year-olds memorializing 85-year-olds,” Choudhry said, “but when you actually look at the data in the industry, people who are leading the efforts for memorialization are between the ages of 25 and 45 years old.
“None of the tools that exist out there were designed for them.”
Chptr’s mobile app lets one person invite a long list of contacts to collaborate on a profile together, and then each person who signs up can upload photos and video stories for the memorial profile. Each of the memories then becomes part of the larger collection that loved ones can go back and review over and over again.
“All of a sudden, it’s no longer about just plugging into the timeline of someone’s existence but really seeing the depth of the impact that they have on the people around them,” Choudhry said.
The startup is part of a growing trend of “death-tech” companies hoping to shake up the death-care-services industry, which is estimated to reach $128.8 billion this year and steadily growing in the US and elsewhere, according to a report from the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts.
Chptr has launched a pilot program for the first 24 Chptr profiles where early users can test out building a memorial profile. The team plans to launch the service for the public in the next 60 days.
But even before Chptr formally hits the market, the pilot program has managed to catch the attention of venture-capital funds like Lucas Venture Group and Sugar Capital, which was founded by the PopSugar creator Brian Sugar. These investors are coleading Chptr’s pre-seed round, along with funds from Gaingels, H/L Ventures, Animal Capital, OnDeck, Matthew Rutler and Christina Aguilera’s MX Investments, and several angel investors.
Choudhry hopes to use the funds to scale Chptr’s hiring and product development before the team’s launch this summer.