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This Founder Used Cremation Urns to Get Funding



online will

If you want to gain funding for your startup, you need to be able to grab the attention of investors. There are several ways to do this. But one of the more unique methods is the one recently used by Eliam Medina.

Medina is the founder of Willing, an online will creation platform. So he stuck with that theme when he applied to be a part of Y Combinator, one of the most prestigious startup accelerators in the world. He did so by sending cremation urns to each of the partners with their names on them.

It’s absolutely unconventional. It might be a little creepy. But it was a clear and interesting strategy. Since Willing’s job is to help people with their end of life planning, Medina needed to emphasize the importance of that sort of work. And nothing can get that point across quite like reminding people of their own mortality.

It was a risky move. But Medina knew he had to take that sort of risk to have any chance of succeeding. He told Business Insider: “It doesn’t take a genius to see that YC receives 5,000 applications and has only 14 partners.”

But the move paid off for Medina. And Willing was accepted into this year’s Y Combinator class, meaning the startup received both investment and mentorship to get off the ground.

The specific idea of sending urns to potential investors doesn’t translate well to a whole lot of other businesses. But the general lesson is a universal one. If you want to get the attention of anyone — whether it be investors, customers, partners or whoever, you have to do something truly unique.



Have a clear goal for your message and then present it in a way that will really make people take notice. Medina’s strategy was not only unique and attention-grabbing, but it also served a clear goal of making people realize the importance of the company’s offerings. If you can find that mix of practical and bizarre, you can likely get investors or customers to take notice of your business.

Image: Willing.com 3 Comments ▼



Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions
  1. It’s nice to see how creative people will go just to set a business. It shows that there is no one way of starting a business. It can start from any idea.

    • That’s very true. You can get creative with basically any aspect of a business, which this founder clearly demonstrates.

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