Egyptian funeral services platform SOKNA raises $1m seed round

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Egyptian startup SOKNA, which offers end-to-end funeral services to honour the deceased and ease the process for their families, has closed a US$1 million seed round to scale across the country.

Disrupt Africa reported in October 2020 on the launch of SOKNA, which handles the full array of funerary services, including but not limited to support in releasing the burial permit and paperwork, body preparation, cemetery set-up, transportation, hall and condolences service booking, obituaries, personalised sadaqa giveaways, and post-loss support.

The startup has signed 20 hospital and corporate deals across Greater Cairo so far, with more than 2,500 cases performed, and plans to expand across more cities after securing seed funding from leading regional and international funds.

The US$1 million comes from investors including 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, Dr. Khaled AlMutabagani, Ahmed Sadek El Sewedy and Farouk Kadous of ElSewedy Family Capital, Hisham Halbouny, Mo El-Bibany, Youssri Helmy, and Mostafa Amin. It also features senior executives from tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and other prominent angel investors.

“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,” said 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 honour departing souls and their families by alleviating the logistical pain of those moments.”

In Greater Cairo alone, SOKNA has amassed more than 70 partner vendors, and has performed more than 2,500 funerals.

“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,” said 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.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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