SOKNA, an Egyptian firm that provides end-to-end funeral services to honor the deceased and make the process easier for their families, has raised $1 million in a seed round led by major regional and international investors.
The investors include the Silicon Valley-based Mentors Fund, SBX Capital, ACE & Company, and Kabnoury Ventures, in addition to a cohort of highly strategic angel investors including Onsi Sawiris (Co-founder and Managing Partner of New York-based HOF Capital), Dr. Khaled AlMutabagani from Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Sadek El Sewedy and Farouk Kadous of ElSewedy Family Capital, Hisham Halbouny (Partner at London-based Mansour Capital), Mo El-Bibany (Founder and General Partner at Page One Ventures), Youssri Helmy (Founder and Managing Director of ITWorx, CEO of Si-Ware), Mostafa Amin (Co-founder and CEO of Breadfast), as well as senior executives from tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and other prominent angel investors.
“SOKNA’s team operates with an extraordinary unity of compassion and tech-fueled efficiency,” says Onsi Sawiris. “For too long, the funeral industry in Egypt has been largely stigmatised and fragmented. We believe that SOKNA has all the ingredients to radically disrupt this space and we’re excited to back them as they broaden their ambition.”
“With this new funding and the incredible group of partners that joined us, we are ready to scale across the country and be able to support more families during the difficult times of grieving loved ones,” says Ahmed Gaballah, Founder and CEO of SOKNA.
“As a mission driven team, we always have our ‘why’ at the forefront: to allow people to focus on the farewell instead of the paperwork, and to honor departing souls and their families by alleviating the logistical pain of those moments.”
Since its launch in late 2020, the company has experienced fast growth, more than tripling in size in the last year alone.
SOKNA currently has operational ties with 20 hospitals and corporations in Greater Cairo, has over 70 vendor partners, and has performed over 2,500 funerals.
The company’s staffing has grown to include more than 50 full-time employees who provide a full range of professional funerary services from start to finish.
SOKNA offers assistance with releasing burial licenses and paperwork, body preparation, cemetery set-up, transportation, hall and condolences service bookings, obituaries, personalised sadaqa giveaways, and post-loss support, among other things.
“We’re extremely proud of how far SOKNA has come in a relatively short period of time, and it just comes to show what the power of a truly strong team can do,” says Charles Lorenceau, Founding Partner at ACE & Company.
“We were impressed by the fact that Gaballah had quit his impressive career in Silicon Valley working for Google, Facebook, and Adobe, to create this company and that he spent years understanding the local practices and customs behind this major life event. We are confident that he is the best to utilise technology to lead SOKNA and are glad to be part of the journey serving such a noble cause.”
SOKNA is also playing an active role in shifting the culture regarding the willingness to discuss death. The company launched a Pre-Planning Program where people can make logistical decisions early on to guarantee more peace of mind for themselves or their loved ones when the time comes.
“We were surprised to find that there is indeed a growing demand for families and individuals to make prior funeral arrangements with us – a discussion which was previously deemed as taboo,” added Gaballah.
Additionally, SOKNA has secured several corporate agreements for employers to support their employees during times of loss by sponsoring, subsidising, or getting discounted rates for the services as part of their employee benefits.
Giving back to the community, SOKNA has created an ecosystem for everyone involved in the traditional death management services, allowing practitioners more training, more job opportunities, and higher motivation as they work with a team that has a solid vision and purpose.
The company also donates any and all gratuities that customers insist on paying to the Children Cancer Hospital in Egypt, 57357.
SOKNA intends to grow their team and has broader ambitions to extend their services and products through augmenting their technology to enable scalability and geographically expanding to more cities in Egypt in the very near future.