Death and dying can be costly, but they are rarely considered a business by consumers. Many would rather not ponder critical decisions about feeding tubes, funeral homes and other end-of-life issues until the need is thrust upon them.
But as our population ages and the industry gets more attention, new firms — many of them technology companies — are setting out to compete on price and convenience.
This $18 billion funeral industry has long been a technology holdout, said Dan Isard, president of the Foresight Companies, a financial management firm in Phoenix, which specializes in funeral and cemetery professions.
Mr. Isard said funeral directors "would rather sit across from someone and talk to them, listen to them, than have them go online and try and figure it out for themselves." That is also one reason the death care industry, as it is called in the industry, has been able to maintain its lack of pricing transparency. But with nearly 2.6 million people dying annually in the United States, entrepreneurs see an opportunity to innovate.