SOKNA — an Egypt-based company that provides comprehensive funeral services — has concluded a $1m round of initial funding with the participation of leading regional and international funds.
According to the company’s statement, the list of investors during this round included Silicon Valley-based Mentors Fund, SBX Capital, ACE & Company, and Kabnoury Ventures.
In addition, a group of key angel investors chipped in, such as Onsi Sawiris; Khaled Al-Mutabaqani; Ahmed El-Sewedy; Farouk Kaddous; Hisham Halbouni; Mo Al-Bibani; Yousry Helmy; Mostafa Amin; and senior executives coming from technology giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sawiris commented on the funding round saying that the SOKNA team operates with an extraordinary unity of professionalism and efficiency fuelled by technology, and for a long time, funeral services in Egypt have been largely disorganised and dispersed.
“With the help of the new funding round and the distinguished group of partners who joined us recently, we are ready to expand in all governorates of Egypt and provide support to more families during the difficult times when they lose their loved ones,” said Ahmed Gaballah, the Founder and CEO of SOKNA.
“Because we are a team with potential and great capabilities to complete all procedures, we always keep our primary goal in mind, which is to give family and friends the opportunity to devote themselves to saying goodbye to their loved ones properly instead of being preoccupied with paperwork and other procedures.”
Since its launch in late 2020, SOKNA has achieved a rapid level of expansion, having tripled in the past year alone. SOKNA now has operating partnerships with 20 hospitals and companies in Greater Cairo alone, partnered with more than 70 service providers, and organised more than 2,500 funerals.
The company’s staff size has also grown and today has over 50 full-time employees, who provide a full range of funeral services professionally from start to finish. SOKNA’s services include providing assistance in obtaining burial permits, certificates, the necessary documentation, preparing the body, preparing the cemetery, transporting the body, arranging funeral hall reservations, as well as posting obituaries, ongoing charity arrangements, and souvenirs.
“We are very proud of the success that SOKNA has achieved in such a short period of time, demonstrating what a strong team can achieve. We are impressed by Gaballah leaving his impressive career in Silicon Valley, where he worked during his time for technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Adobe to return and found SOKNA,” said Charles Lourenço, the Co-Founder of ACE & Company.
“He spent years understanding the local practices and customs behind this great life event. We are confident that he can best employ technology to lead SOKNA and we are pleased to be part of the journey to provide such a noble service.”
Additionally, SOKNA plays an active role in changing the prevailing culture regarding preparation for death arrangements. The company launched its ‘Advance Planning Programme’, which allows people to make early decisions about funeral arrangements to ensure peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones, on their last farewell.
“We were surprised that there was actually an increasing demand from families and individuals to book funeral arrangements in advance with us, a discussion that was previously considered difficult,” says Gaballah.
SOKNA has also entered into various agreements with companies whose management has decided to support their employees during times of loss by providing care, benefits, or discounted rates for services as part of the benefits they provide to their employees.
Eager to give back to the community, SOKNA has launched a collaborative system with on-demand service desks, allowing those who work this job to get more appropriate training as well as more job opportunities, and to provide them with greater motivation by working with a team that has a clear vision and purpose like the SOKNA team. The company also donates all tips that customers insist on paying to support the Children’s 57357 Cancer Hospital in Egypt.
SOKNA aspires to increase the number of its staff as well as the size of its services and products by enhancing the technology it relies on, enabling it to grow further, and expand in more cities in Egypt in the very near future.