Digital deathcare disruptor Bare raises $10 million in Series A

Digital deathcare disruptor Bare raises $10 million in Series A

Bare co-founders Cale Donovan and Sam McConkey (Provided)

Melbourne-based funeral company Bare has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Perennial Partners and Ord Minnett Private Capital.

Previously known as Bare Cremation, the company’s earlier backers include OIF Ventures, Athletic Ventures, Who Gives A Crap founder Simon Griffiths and former NBA basketballer Andrew Bogut.

The latest capital injection, which takes the company’s total funding to more than $15 million, will be used to support new digital offerings and physical infrastructure.

Bare co-founder Cale Donovan says at its core, the company’s success comes down to redesigning deathcare services to fit today’s consumers.  

“For generations, funerals in Australia have looked a certain way. The services themselves haven’t really evolved to meet the needs of the modern consumer. This has led people to choose from what they know a funeral to be, rather than getting what they want,” said Donovan, who built the company alongside Sam McConkey.

“The funeral sector is akin to the retail sector 20 years ago. Bare is the natural evolution in deathcare that places increased choice, personalised support and technology at the forefront.

“Being customer-led, and digitally enabled, allows us to build an end-of-life experience that is seamless, supportive and affordable. When you are able to provide people the right services, at the right time — the impact is profound.”

Founded in 2019, the company initially provided consumers with a cremation service that pivots from traditional avenues as it does not require a funeral director or viewing and can be prepaid. Since launching, the death tech has expanded its offering to include memorials, wills and probates.

To date, Bare has provided services to more than 15,000 customers and currently operates across Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, SA, ACT and WA.

In the circumstance the company was to go out of business, consumers with pre-paid funerals are protected as their money is put in a regulated bond with the Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society.

The capital cannot be accessed until the time of the death and gives families the option to opt for another funeral provider.

“Sam and Cale have developed a compelling offering in a complex market where decisions are typically made in high stress times. On top of securing strong revenue and market share, they’ve built a business with an unparalleled commitment to the people they support,” Perennial Private senior investment and legal principal James McQueen said.

"Bare represents a particularly exciting opportunity for Perennial. They are a high growth company in a defensive industry. They have a clear path to becoming a dominant company in the deathcare space and their commitment to unparalleled customer experiences is truly unique.

“To the better of society, they’ve changed the game in a space that’s been ripe for disruption for years.”

Early investor and fellow direct-to-consumer founder Who Gives A Crap CEO Simon Griffiths echoed the same sentiment.

“Bare is building a business that is not only impactful but deeply focused on social good. They have an unrivaled respect for the considerations that come with innovating in a sensitive space and it shows. 

“The best founders are the ones that can pick something up, run with it and do the things that you never thought were possible — that’s what I’ve seen time and time again with Sam and Cale.

“They manage to delicately balance integrity with opportunity to the benefit of their customers. From a business, industry and community perspective, it’s huge. I can't wait to see how they continue to evolve.”

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