Saskatoon-based Cadence has raised $1.2 million CAD in seed funding to help people complete the administrative tasks associated with a death.
Cadence co-founder and CEO Rachel Drew claimed that in the months following a death, families spend an average of 500 hours closing the affairs of their loved ones between claiming benefits, closing accounts, administering the estate, engaging a variety of professionals and keeping strict records.
“This complex administrative work leaves families feeling overwhelmed and overburdened, during a time when they are least able to cope,” Drew told BetaKit. “Errors and delays can lead to financial losses, legal challenges and family conflict.”
“We believe that no one should be left alone to navigate the logistics that follow loss.”
-Rachel Drew, Cadence
Drew quickly discovered the challenges of dealing with an estate when she lost her mom in 2014. In 2020, she teamed up with COO Rachelle Perron and CTO Krystian Olszanski to build Cadence, a B2B SaaS startup that aims to make the process easier for everyone involved by partnering with businesses to organize, streamline, and automate estate settlement tasks.
Regina’s Conexus Venture Capital led Cadence’s all-equity seed round, which closed in May and saw participation from Regina-based Lex Capital, Calgary’s The51, and undisclosed angel investors. The financing brings Cadence’s total funding to just over $1.4 million.
“The combination of an elegant technical solution to a challenging problem, an exceptional team, and their proven ability to partner with world-class funeral service providers and lawyers makes us very excited to be working with Cadence,” said Conexus Venture Capital Managing Partner Kyle Scott, who is joining Cadence’s board as part of this round.
Cadence plans to use the fresh capital to fuel its expansion across Canada and into the United States (US). To get there, Cadence plans to grow its 14-person team and invest in sales, marketing, and product development.
Cadence offers a self-directed software package or a one-on-one support service guided by estate administration experts. The startup’s customers include funeral providers, financial institutions and advisors, and hospice care organizations serving grieving clients.
“We believe that no one should be left alone to navigate the logistics that follow loss,” said Drew.
Cadence is part of a growing list of Canadian tech companies looking to help people navigate the end-of-life and estate settlement process, a group that includes ClearEstate, Willful, eState Planner, and Muslim Will—which was recently acquired by Manzil.
“It has been wonderful to see digital innovation in the estate tech space and we are thankful to have the opportunity to partner with and support various companies in this space, including Willful,” said Drew.
Since Cadence does not currently offer wills, the startup’s present offering is closer to that of Toronto-based eState Planner, which closed $1 million earlier this year to provide estate planning software to lawyers and attorneys, and Montréal’s ClearEstate, which raised $16.8 million in Series A funding in February to offer estate planning and settlement services, as well as professional executor services.
At the moment, Cadence focuses more on the estate settlement side of the equation. The Saskatoon company has already launched its aftercare product to support people with the administrative tasks required after a death. Cadence is also in the process of building out a pre-planning platform to help customers through the entire end-of-life journey, which will bring it into closer competition with ClearEstate—albeit with a slightly different customer base that includes funeral providers, financial advisors, and hospice care organizations.
For his part, Scott called the estate tech, or aftercare sector, “archaic,” and sees the amount of innovation as a good thing. “Cadence is a critical part of bringing the industry into the future and allowing individuals to access information they need when they need it,” he told BetaKit. “We view a number of the other “competitors” as required ecosystem builders all working to improve the overall experience and efficiency of someone dealing with a personal loss.”
Cadence, which is currently available across Canada, plans to begin its US expansion by targeting California, Florida, and Texas.
Feature image courtesy Cadence.