Deathcare startup Parting Stone raises $1.3M in seed funding to provide the first clean alternative to ashes after human, pet cremation
Cremation is the hottest trend in the funeral industry. Due to the high cost of a traditional burial, many Americans are now opting for cremation. According to estimates from the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA), the median cost of a funeral with burial to be around $8,500, and the median cost of a funeral with viewing and cremation to be about $6,000.
However, with cremation comes the ashes of a loved one remains. Enter Parting Stone, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based deathcare startup solving the uncomfortable experience of dealing with cremated remains. Parting Stone is the first company to develop an alternative to ashes after human, pet cremation.
Today, Parting Stone announced it has closed a $1.3 million in seed-plus funding to grow its network of 200+ local funeral home partners nationwide. The round led by Arrowhead Innovation Fund with participation from Lightspeed Scout Fund and Meow Wolf co-founders Matt King and Caity Kennedy, brings Parting Stone’s total financing to $1.9 million.
Parting Stone will also use the funding proceeds to broaden direct-to-consumer access to its solidified remains service for over 20 million families already living with ashes and expand its Santa Fe laboratory.
Founded in 2019 in collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratories, Parting Stone is the developer of solidified remains, a new category of remains that offers families the first complete alternative to receiving ashes following either pet cremation or human cremation. Instead of ashes, Parting Stone’s proprietary technology returns cremated remains as collections of smooth, stone-like objects that can be comfortably and safely held, shared, displayed, and scattered.
The company has grown substantially during COVID-19, providing a meaningful service for families seeking to memorialize departed loved ones amidst restrictions on gathering. Parting Stone projects that solidified remains will capture more than 50 percent of the cremated remains market share by 2030.
“There’s a $500 million industry dedicated to putting a bandage on the uncomfortable experience of dealing with ashes by hiding them in anything from jewelry to paperweights,” says Aaron Samuels, Lightspeed Scout. “The underlying reality is that ashes come in a form that some people find difficult to connect with. Parting Stone addresses the core problem with a new category of human remains.”
Parting Stone’s founder, Justin Crowe, developed the company after losing his grandfather in 2014 and becoming curious about how others were experiencing loss.
“The more I talked to people, the more I found it tragic that so many who spoke passionately about their departed loved ones and pets were also storing their ashes in basements, closets, and garages, often for decades,” says Crowe. “For many, ashes are a persistent source of guilt and frustration.”
After receiving a grant to work with a team of material scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Parting Stone developed a proprietary solidification process and launched a new form of human remains in beta in October 2019.
“We don’t accept broken user experiences anywhere else in our modern lives, but, for some reason, we have when it comes to cremation,” says Crowe. “Solidified remains empower grieving families by providing a platform for healing, growth, and connection.”
An average person will yield a collection of 40-60 “stones,” ranging from thumbnail size up to palm-size. For each cup of cremated remains, Parting Stone’s service returns one cup of solidified remains. Human remains solidification costs $595, dogs $295, and cats $245.
Parting Stone was honored by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Award (2020) and the KIP Award for death care industry innovation.