Meet the Women Leading the Charge in Death Tech

Meet the Women Leading the Charge in Death Tech

You’ve likely heard of fintech or health tech, but what about “death tech”? We all know we’re going to pass away at some point, but, traditionally the process of preparing a will, organizing funeral plans, buying life insurance, and taking care of other end-of-life tasks have been a largely offline process. Now, a new crop of women-led companies is changing that by bringing these paper-based processes online and empowering women everywhere to leave a positive legacy by planning ahead. With $30 trillion expected to change hands from the Boomers to younger generations by 2045, this industry is only expected to grow. Here are the women—myself included—who are leading the charge.

Erin Bury, Willful (left)

My husband and I launched Willful in 2017 after a family member passed away unexpectedly, and we saw how many unanswered questions exist when you don’t plan ahead. Our research found that 57% of adults don’t have a will, and that number jumps to almost 90% of people under 35. Our goal was to create the TurboTax for wills - a simple, beautiful online platform that guides Canadians through getting a will and power of attorney documents online in about 20 minutes, for a fraction of the cost of visiting a lawyer (if you’re reading in the U.S., check out our partners at Trust & Will). Since launch we’ve expanded to eight provinces, raised over $2 million in funding from VC and angel investors, partnered with brands like Allstate Canada, served over 25,000 customers, and we even scored a deal from tech investor Michele Romanow on Dragons’ Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank (watch our pitch).

I’m very passionate about helping women get their estate plans in order for three reasons: first, we are often the organizers in our household so the onus often falls to us to spearhead wills and conversations about end-of-life wishes. Second, women don’t always manage the finances, so if you don’t it’s important to have a clear picture of what would happen if a spouse passed away and where key accounts and documents are located. Third, we are likely going to be executors for our parents, so it’s important to plan for ourselves but also to ensure we know how to honor our parents’ legacy when the time comes.

I’ve also focused on setting a positive example as a female founder—I’m proud that 50% of our C-level executives are women, one-third of our board of directors is women, and we have many female investors on our cap table, including Arati Sharma from Backbone Angels. I also recently had our first daughter, and I’m trying to reduce the stigma around being a tech CEO and a parent.

Mallory Greene, Eirene (right)

If you’ve watched Six Feet Under, you know what it’s like to grow up as the child of a funeral director. Mallory Greene experienced that firsthand—her dad was a funeral director, so she grew up comfortable with discussing death. Instead of following in his footsteps, Mallory went into the tech world, joining fintech Wealthsimple as an early employee. When she got the entrepreneurial itch, she decided to marry her love of tech with her family’s business, and launched direct-to-consumer cremation platform Eirene in 2019. Eirene’s platform makes it easy to pre-plan your cremation, or facilitate a cremation for a loved one, all online and at a more affordable cost than traditional cremations. They also offer aquamation, a more eco-friendly water-based alternative to cremation. Right now, the company operates in Ontario,Canada,  but they’re looking to expand to other provinces soon—and they were recently profiled by The New York Times.

Effie Anolik, Afterword (center)

Like many great business ideas, early Shopify employee Effie Anolik came up with Afterword after a personal experience. Effie’s dad passed away in 2018, and she went through the process of planning his funeral. She found it was a very offline, opaque process, and while she struggled to find information she figured there had to be a better way. Then COVID-19 hit, and families had to transition to virtual services instead of in-person funerals. Afterword launched in May 2020 to help families host virtual services, and to work in tandem with funeral homes to bring their services online. After hosting hundreds of virtual services, the team came back to its original mission to help families with all aspects of the post-death process: planning funerals, facilitating burial options, and guiding them through the more tactical aspects of closing up someone’s life.

Today Afterword bridges the gap between healthcare organizations and funeral homes. They partner with healthcare providers to arm them with bereavement tools and resources, and they educate families about funeral options. Then they match them with the best provider for them. Afterword also offers personalized grief resources because grief is so unique to the type of loss, age, and relationship, as Effie knows firsthand.

Effie, Mallory and I are just a few of the women leading the charge in this space. While it may seem like a morbid topic to build your business around, we’re passionate about modernizing this antiquated space, and setting an example for aspiring female founders everywhere in the process.

Erin Bury is the CEO at, an estate planning startup that provides an affordable, convenient, and easy way for Canadians to make a will online. She is a serial entrepreneur who also owns a bicycle wine tour business in Prince Edward County, where she lives with her husband and daughter.