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In this episode, we talk with Faisal Abid: Speaker, Entrepreneur, Google Developer Expert, and co-founder of Eirene cremations. Eirene provides high-quality, affordable cremation services. Eirene allows families to plan an affordable cremation entirely online or over the phone. Leveraging technology to help provide a better funeral experience to families. Additionally, Faisal walks us through the unique business and technology challenges he faced at the beginning of Eirene.
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🔗 Episode Links
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/FaisalAbid
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faisalabid/
- Eirene Cremations: Simple, Modern Cremation Services https://eirene.ca/
- Eirene LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/eirene/
- Eirene Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eirene
[00:00:40] Brian Hinton: Welcome to Thunder Nerds, I’m Brian Hinton.
[00:00:42] Frederick Weiss: And I am Frederick Weiss. And thank you so much for consuming the Thunder Nerds. A conversation with the people behind the technology that love what they do,
[00:00:53] Brian Hinton: and do tech, good.
[00:00:59] Frederick Weiss: And our sponsor Auth0 is helping us do tech good all year long.
[00:01:07] Brian Hinton: Yeah. We'd like to thank them again for sponsoring this season.
[00:01:10] Brian Hinton: They make it easy for developers to build a custom secure and standards based unified login by providing authentication and authorization as a service to try it out, go to Auth0.com. Auth0 is also on both YouTube and at the twitches under a username Auth0 and with some great developer resources and streams.
[00:01:35] Brian Hinton: Also, make sure to check out the avocado labs who doesn't love avocados? It's an online destination that their developer advocates run, organizing some great meetup events. And again, remember to check out Auth0.com.
[00:01:51] Frederick Weiss: Love it. Thank you so much, Brian. Really appreciate it. Yeah. And go ahead and start live chatting with us.
[00:01:56] Frederick Weiss: Now we'll answer your questions in the order they are received. Additionally, make sure that you subscribe to the show go to youtube.com/ThunderNerds. Click that notification bell for alerts on new videos. And we also have an exclusive subscriber giveaway. So please check that out. So yeah, please just do it.
[00:02:21] Frederick Weiss: So now with that being said, and without any ados being furthered, let's go ahead and welcome our guests. We have an amazing human being on the show. Joining us again for the, I don't know, the third, fifth, eighth time we have: speaker, entrepreneur, Google developer expert, Faisal Abid. Welcome to the show.
[00:02:48] Faisal Abid: Hello
[00:02:52] Faisal Abid: I think it is my fourth time?
[00:02:57] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. Maybe even more than that. I could think of when you first were on or show way back when you had shorter hair. And I don't think it took that long to grow about way back in 2018. Maybe we were at DevFest.
[00:03:11] Faisal Abid: Yep, exactly. Yeah
[00:03:15] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. And we really appreciate you coming on the show and providing your insight and your knowledge every time it's it's always super fun and entertaining and we we love having you on with that being said, let's let's get to know you a little bit for the people that might not know you, can you just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in general and in your own words?
[00:03:38] Faisal Abid: Yeah. I'm Faisal. What do I do? So I'm an engineer, entrepreneur. What I really do is I try to solve really hard problems. Sounds pretty vague, but right now, the problem that I'm solving is in the space of death which is Eirene cremations. And that's what I'm working on. Aside from that, I do Google cloud consulting AI machine learning, all sorts of stuff.
[00:04:02] Faisal Abid: So just have my hands in everything with a big focus on solving hard problems. Let me
[00:04:08] Frederick Weiss: ask you then, where are you where are you currently working? What's your actual maybe I shouldn't employ the word actual, huh? Employ a lot of connections there. What is your actual day job?
[00:04:20] Frederick Weiss: Your nine to five and what do you do there? What's your, what's your day to day? I guess my data would be I'm a juggler because what I really do most of my time is spent on Eirene. And that is. Understanding the product and like user UI, UX, product development, customer service, sales, marketing, like whatever.
[00:04:44] Faisal Abid: I am involved in that. And then outside of that I am now VP of engineering. So I'm shifted my role to focus internally at bootstraps. And that's where we do a lot of Google cloud consulting and working with clients, building out machine learning and ML ops and stuff.
[00:05:02] Frederick Weiss: So the people that know you probably think of you as more someone in a traditional sense of tech technology.
[00:05:10] Frederick Weiss: Now you're in this company, maybe you co-founded, it I'll let you explain in your own words, Eirene, which I believe is the Roman goddess of peace. Is that right?
[00:05:24] Faisal Abid: Yeah. It's the Greek goddess of peace. I believe. Yeah. Okay.
[00:05:29] Frederick Weiss: Let's close. I think, I hope I'm not offending anybody.
[00:05:31] Frederick Weiss: Excuse my geography. So let's first dive into this. So when, why, whom when you tell us about it, let's get the
[00:05:41] Faisal Abid: It is funny. You have a good point that a lot of people do know me. It's just like this tech person, but Eirene is far from a tech company inherently. It is a tech company it's using tech to solve a problem.
[00:05:51] Faisal Abid: My I'm going to give a long winded answer to this. So I think when I got into tech my history has been very interesting. I dropped out of school and just started this business when Andrew came out and I was trying to build like a Netflix for games, for Android. And so as I was going through.
[00:06:15] Faisal Abid: I just started to as well as I did that up and that didn't work out. I said, okay I guess I'm not for startups or whatever, I'm going to try something else. But I need to make money. So I went and joined a company called Kobo and Kobo was great because that really helped me understand how businesses work.
[00:06:35] Faisal Abid: I was 21 at that time. And so throughout my twenties, I worked at a lot of very interesting startups and something that started to change in my way of looking at it was at first, in my early twenties, I saw tech as a problem that needs to be solved. As I went through my twenties, I realized that there are a lot bigger problems than building image filters or random apps.
[00:07:04] Faisal Abid: There are a lot of bigger problems that aren't, that need to be solved, but they need to be solved using. But tech is not the solution, right? If that makes any sense. In the case of Eirene the problem for irenas families are when someone passes away, families are grieving, they're frustrated, they confused or scared.
[00:07:27] Faisal Abid: They don't know what's going on and they don't know what to do. Next. The solution isn't Eirene has a website, right? That is not solving the problem. It's the process that we take technology and the process that we put them through and the, how we enable technology to help solve their problem. That's the solution.
[00:07:48] Faisal Abid: And so for me, I like looking and finding problems and Eirene is this problem that came about. And it's funny because my co-founder and I both were thinking about Eirene at different, and we didn't even know each other at this point. Actually I was in Japan. I was trying to look at. Business ideas.
[00:08:06] Faisal Abid: And I saw that in Japan, they were handling death in a very interesting way. And it was very, again, they were using technology to help families in this very awful time in their lives. And so I said, this is really cool. I haven't seen anything like this in north America. So how do I bring how do I do this in north America?
[00:08:26] Faisal Abid: Because by this time I think I was around 27, 28, and I was not jaded of the tech world, but I was wanting to do more than just work at a company doing scrums every day and filling fishing Assano tickets and just like fixing bugs, or solving like pubsub or Google cloud problems, stuff like that.
[00:08:49] Faisal Abid: It's not really changing anyone's life. It's just improving the bottom line. And so for me, I said, we're in a very, or I'm in a very interesting sector where I can make a lot of. But why don't I make a lot of money doing something that's helping people and that's going to improve people's lives. And so I said, all right, I'm starting.
[00:09:09] Faisal Abid: I started looking at problems and I looked into crypto and seeing, is there something in crypto I can do. Bunch of different stuff eventually went to Japan, saw this problem. And I came back and one of the things I learned while doing multiple businesses, some of them which have worked out fairly well, some of them haven't is that the businesses that worked well or businesses that I have really good market knowledge on and really good deep insights on, or I'm working with someone that has those insights.
[00:09:39] Faisal Abid: And I'm able to compliment that. And I have no insights on the world of death. Like sure people die. Everyone knows that. But what happens after I have no idea other than looking at these Japanese companies do very interesting things. The idea was just settling in back of my head. And one day by chance, I met my co-founder Mallory and she wanted to chat with me about some ideas that she had about businesses he wanted to do.
[00:10:05] Faisal Abid: Anyways, we chatted and nothing really stuck out as something that was doable. And then just funny enough as the conversation was ending, we probably an hour long conversation, we spent 50 minutes brainstorming random businesses. Nothing was really sticking. Nothing seemed fun. And then the last, just before going where we've paid the coffee bill, I asked.
[00:10:27] Faisal Abid: What are some other things you're interested in that are just like wild and out there? And she said this is funny because I don't really tell people this. It just people it's just so strange in the tech role is that I am very interested in deaths because my family's been in that space.
[00:10:43] Faisal Abid: Her family owns a funeral home. And I remember going into my backpack and pulling out this pitch deck that I got from this random Japanese company as I was there and I pulled it out and I put it on the table. And I said, look at this company in Japan, this is very similar to what you're saying and what I've been thinking of.
[00:11:02] Faisal Abid: Let's start brainstorming on an idea in depth. And so 2018 is when we started brainstorming on Eirene and funny enough, we thought we would be able to launch this within a couple of months in 2018. And so what happened was I was leaving a tech company that I was working. And she was working at another tech company.
[00:11:26] Faisal Abid: And so we paused a bit because tech companies, they go up and down how they are. And so eventually she finally left and I had finally left, but this was like probably early 20, 19 now. And so at this point, she said, are you still interested? I said, yeah I never, I still have the domain and everything let's do this.
[00:11:47] Faisal Abid: So we started working on Eirene and the idea was let's build a simple prototype of Eirene. And what I mean is it helps families. It's Canada's first virtual funeral home. You can come on and you can get a cremation or acclimation all online without ever leaving your safe space. Your home, wherever you are.
[00:12:08] Faisal Abid: You can do it online twenty four seven, or you can call us. And we have someone available 24 7, and the whole process has done for you. When I talk about technology solving problems. You can press a, you can fill out information and then that's, it will automatically fill out all the forms you need to fill out.
[00:12:25] Faisal Abid: You never need to leave your house. We'll have someone go to where your loved one is, pick them up, take them to the crematorium, handle all that for you. All you have to do is either give us a call or just for lots of information. So this was the idea and we built out the prototype not even a prototype.
[00:12:42] Faisal Abid: We built out the entire business talk to our partners and stuff. And in Canada, the funeral space is very regulated. The naive 2019 version of me thought regulation, that's fine. Less. We just need to apply for a license and we'll get it little. Did we know that when we applied for a license?
[00:13:03] Faisal Abid: The Breman authority of Ontario, the regulation in Ontario is really designed for traditional funeral home. No, one's really thought about what does a digital funeral home look like? You can draw parallels to this when you talk about as much as I dislike it, but like cryptocurrency, right where there's a new form of monetary finance and people don't understand that the bench and understanding it's the same form, right?
[00:13:28] Faisal Abid: Everything is built to protect the consumer. And then you have an industry that is so old and has designed a certain way for physical access. And now you have two young people coming to them and saying, Hey, government, give us a license. We're going to make this all digital. It's pretty scary to the government.
[00:13:47] Faisal Abid: And so I don't blame them. And so they started to basically say, Hey, do you know this doesn't work. The regulation. There's nothing in the regulation that allows you guys to do. And so we did funny enough, like this is, we spent 2019 kind of discussing this back and forth. We didn't get the license yet.
[00:14:09] Faisal Abid: And then COVID happened in 2020. And so we spend the rest of 2020 in a lot of ways, lobbying the government and talking to them and finding people in the government that are a lot more future focused and thinking about what's right for the consumer in 20, 20, 20, 21 and on. And so we found a lot of good partners.
[00:14:30] Faisal Abid: The government was very helpful. Once we started to talk to them, it it's funny, like both Mallory and I became lobbyists in a weird way. During COVID. So it's just like us sitting at our desks lobbying virtually. But luckily we were able to convince the government they understood our business model.
[00:14:49] Faisal Abid: They changed some parts of the regulation and made exceptions and they said, all right, you guys can get this license. So December, 2020 is when we were able to launch this. And so it sounds like it's such a like not an easy business, but we're just filling out forms and we're helping families.
[00:15:10] Faisal Abid: It's nothing like we're not doing AI, ML, blockchain, all sorts of things. But there's a lot of work that went into just getting to a point where we can launch. And then the amount of thinking that goes behind Eirene is very interesting. It's unlike any other product that I've worked on because every other product that I've worked on, whether it's.
[00:15:29] Faisal Abid: Kobo where I was doing eBooks lead, where I was doing health insurance, zoom, that AI, I was doing art AI, NLP engines. None of them had the user in their most vulnerable states. And so when you have a user in their most vulnerable state, you cannot, you need to make sure your experience is solid.
[00:16:06] Faisal Abid: You can't really have edge cases here because if a family has that edge case, you've already made a really bad time, worse by not giving them the help they need. And such a sensitive experience, it's extremely sensitive. And so it's been really fun to build that thinking about. How to build a backend, how to build the front end, how to design and the design language and the illustrations, everything.
[00:16:30] Faisal Abid: So that in a nutshell is just like Eirene and everything that I do there. And now it's mostly, my role at Eirene is really around how do we get in front of families? How do we have the right content available to them and what tools can we get them so that when they do come to our site we're empowering them and making them feel comfortable and not feeling like they're lost and
[00:16:55] Brian Hinton: visiting the site too.
[00:16:57] Brian Hinton: It is. And I don't know. It's amazing that you all managed to establish an aesthetic that's visually pleasing, but also not. Like calm as well. It's really a nice experience that you all have built there.
[00:17:11] Frederick Weiss: Then you look up, sorry. Yeah.
[00:17:15] Brian Hinton: I looked up Eirene. Its personification of peace is what Eirene is.
[00:17:23] Brian Hinton: Yeah, according to the Google's
[00:17:27] Faisal Abid: and then the name is interesting, right? Like when we were thinking of a name, the name was the hardest thing, what do we call this? Like cremation online, getting how weird and tacky that sounds. And I always, the first thing I do whenever I think about product names and I'm like, let's find like a clue code and the code name ended up being the main name here because I just searched up Greek God names and stumping and Eirene came I'm like, this is such a good meaning, like lecture stick with it.
[00:17:56] Faisal Abid: And so I was just
[00:17:58] Brian Hinton: stuck. That's perfect. Yeah. And I loved how you, like when she came back here, like I already have the domain. It's like the common thing I bought the domain. We're ready. Let's
[00:18:08] Faisal Abid: go. Exactly. We have not a single line of code when I went and bought that domain. In fact, I bought a bunch of domains, Eirene criminations, blah, blah, blah.
[00:18:16] Faisal Abid: So my domain portfolio is wild. Like I have some pretty interesting. I'm
[00:18:21] Brian Hinton: curious if you can share, was there another name that you all were like, but it was the other possible big one.
[00:18:30] Faisal Abid: I am sure there are, but I don't remember. There were probably garbage, right? Peace, personification, peace.
[00:18:36] Brian Hinton: How have you beat that? So I actually don't remember what the other names were. Let
[00:18:43] Frederick Weiss: me, let me ask you a question. Cause you, you talked about this several times, maybe more you said you found some inspiration from your travels in Japan. I wonder if you could communicate like what those are because for me, and probably a lot of people that haven't been to Japan and know what that experience is like.
[00:19:02] Frederick Weiss: And specifically this one. Yeah, experience that we're talking about. Could you tell us a little bit of what that is and how how families are dealing with that over there and what the translation really of that looks like, that you brought over to Canada?
[00:19:20] Faisal Abid: I think the, my reading of Japan and the Japanese people are that they're very pragmatic and they're very they're very well, first of all, they're extremely nice.
[00:19:31] Faisal Abid: They're pragmatic and they're very down to earth. And so everything that they do when they're architecture and just like when you talk to people and like the reasoning, how even got exposed to like funeral that I was on a vacation it's that I met an old mentor of mine. He, you, he ended up becoming CEO of Kobo and then I left COBA, but I stayed on good terms with them.
[00:19:52] Faisal Abid: And so when I went to Japan, I said, oh yeah. Talk a works at Tokyo. Let's like, let me reach out to Taka and see what he's doing. And I saw that he was working at a place called common fruition. And I was like, and when I Googled it, I guess it was like Google translate or whatever. I was like, what is this paper company?
[00:20:09] Faisal Abid: What is this tech guy that like ran Kobo and then we'll see you a Viber, what is he doing at like a random paper company? Did he burn out? And so I went there and he called me in and that's when I got that presentation from that I pulled out for a Mallory and he said to me this is what I'm doing here.
[00:20:30] Faisal Abid: And this is what calmer commission. So is, and as he told me about it, a light bulb went out where I'm like, wow, this is. Elegantly explains. What I've been trying to figure out is how I can use tech to solve hard problems and real world problems, not like little simple make a, how to deploy better, how to deploy your code better problem.
[00:20:53] Faisal Abid: Not that those are any less challenging, but like something that brings me a lot of happiness is if I can make a big difference in someone's life. And so when you started to explain this to me, I was like, wow, this is amazing. And I remember saying, I'm probably going to go to Canada and just figure out how to do this in Canada, because you can't translate exactly what Japan is doing in Canada.
[00:21:16] Faisal Abid: There's different cultures. There's different ways of, we deal with death the way common, Caribbean. So it worked is that it was more, at least back when I was there. It was more like a. Expedia for Buddhist funerals, where you can call them up and you have an operator, like they had an entire operators center and someone will pick up the phone and they would go through all the different providers in Japan and your area and tell you the lowest price with package deals and all that stuff right.
[00:21:48] Faisal Abid: Where they can be like if you want and I'm sure I'm getting this wrong, but it's if you want a prayer plus like a visitation, then this is what you can do. This is the service to go to. And so you can't really copy that here, nor did I. I thought I could do something a bit better.
[00:22:04] Faisal Abid: But I could do it something for the Canadian audience, the north American audience in general. And so that's where Mallory brought her insights because she knew exactly how families, because she grew up watching her dad take care of these families and the funeral home that they own. So that's, that was putting two together where it's like, there's how, that's what I can do with technology.
[00:22:27] Faisal Abid: And that's the problem to solve.
[00:22:29] Frederick Weiss: That's an interesting point. Let me ask these questions since you said that then, so let me ask you about your customers. You say geographically, you you keep saying Canada, but I want to know geographically. Does that mean one, all of Canada what are the demographics and.
[00:22:48] Frederick Weiss: If there are any competitors at all in this space where you're located, where you're doing business, if there are any kind of differentiators if there's any kind of competition. So w I'll go back to the first part and re restate that, where exactly are these services located in what's that radius?
[00:23:09] Frederick Weiss: Do you also say provide in, in the top part of the United States, Alaska whatnot.
[00:23:17] Faisal Abid: Okay. We'll probably get into the United States and United States a whole different beast. I can talk about after, but right now we operate in Ontario. One of Canada's largest provinces and we operate anywhere in Ontario.
[00:23:31] Faisal Abid: And so this is how I read works from the backend aspect. We don't have our own crematorium. That is an asset that is. Too much to maintain. We don't want to carry that asset around. So what we've done is we've connected with funeral we've connected with crematoriums or Pross the province.
[00:23:51] Faisal Abid: So wherever you are, if you're in thunder bay and messages to Eirene the way actually to even explain it better, the way it works is there is a funeral home, then there's a crematorium, right? And sometimes they're the same. Sometimes there are different as a consumer, you just cannot go to a crematorium.
[00:24:11] Faisal Abid: You need to go through a funeral home. And so we are that virtual funeral. The advantage we have over a physical funeral home is that if you go to apple funeral home across the streets, apple funeral home only serves a radius of say 15 kilometers, right? Because we're virtual. We can serve all over the world, but right now we serve Ontario only.
[00:24:34] Faisal Abid: And then when a family reaches out to. They're dealing with Eirene and Eirene only in the backend. We have a funeral partner, a crematorium partner in thunder bay. And so they'll reach out to us. We'll send it, we'll get collected information online, and then we'll fill out all the forms digitally pick up their loved ones.
[00:24:54] Faisal Abid: So the picking up the loved one again in the tech world, it's like using API APIs. We have a transfer service that is automatically dispatch, and this is a government regulated transfer service. So the end user is getting the exact same experience in turn, not the exact same experience. They're getting the exact same quality as any other funeral home, because we're S we're all using the same transfer service and perhaps even the same crematorium and a lot of places, what they're, what the differentiator is.
[00:25:25] Faisal Abid: They're getting it at a much lower rate because we're on Ontario on average, we're 50% to. Purely because we don't have the physical cost of maintaining a physical funeral, home, a physical crematorium, and we have a better experience because you can do it in your safe space. Huge. All you have to do is just go to Eirene or you can just call that number.
[00:25:48] Faisal Abid: You can call us at 4:00 AM in the morning and someone will pick up within a minute or even 30 seconds. Someone will pick up our funeral directors are amazing. They will pick up the phone and they will talk to you. They will comfort you and they will take care of everything you need at 3:30 AM. It doesn't matter.
[00:26:07] Faisal Abid: And so that is our differentiator. And that's how technology enables us to make that differentiation, because I'm able to build that tech, I'm able to utilize tech that makes all this happen.
[00:26:19] Brian Hinton: This all reminds me a lot of Daniel burka, like his resolve to save lives and the civil project and health, and just how we're taking tech and partnering you're partnering too with not with non-tech and pulling them into the tech era, so to speak.
[00:26:35] Brian Hinton: It doesn't mean you're just, you're talking earlier about how there wasn't even regulation for this. And it's definitely an industry, especially for everyone. When you're, you've lost someone and you're dealing with all that, having to go into a location where other people have are there two maybe, and maybe a funeral is going on?
[00:26:54] Brian Hinton: And like that's just so hard and yeah. So I applaud this a great deal.
[00:27:03] Faisal Abid: Yeah. And the thing is you are right. The partners we work with, they aren't they're not, they don't, some partners have just a typewriter, we're dealing with partners like this, but they're extremely good at what they do.
[00:27:17] Faisal Abid: And so we're helping them in a lot of ways come to the 21st century because they're on typewriters sometimes because they're amazing at what they do. They're great. They run a great crematorium. They have a beautiful place, like a scattering garden and stuff, and we're helping them increase customers, because we're able to reach out to a lot more people.
[00:27:39] Faisal Abid: We're able to enable a lot more people to come through our service. Then some like a local funeral home, a local funeral home really has a maximum capacity that they can do because of the geographic radius that they're in the and the amount of people that they can serve at any one.
[00:27:57] Faisal Abid: This is a tech company. I can serve a million people that go through our service on one day, it's all serverless, right? So there's no like need for more humans, other than funeral directors that we can just employ very quickly and scale up. Because again, this is all technology based.
[00:28:16] Faisal Abid: They can be working remotely. They just have to have.
[00:28:19] Frederick Weiss: Yeah, I love that because as Brian said I'll append to this a little bit. When people lose a family member it's probably the last thing you think of what do I do? Where do I go? Who do I speak to?
[00:28:37] Frederick Weiss: Am I going to get my iPhone out and look through websites all day and find like exactly what I need. I I don't even know if the price is right or whatever. I might not even care or I might be in a position where I go I can't even afford most of these things and it's great to have that transparency and someone either to talk to, or someone that to not talk to and just do this in the privacy of my own home where I'm already feeling vulnerable.
[00:29:08] Frederick Weiss: I I don't know. Want to share my my experience with somebody right now, because I might not be in the state to share my experience, but look, let me ask you this question. Cause I'm so curious. Obviously you said you, you did a lot of lobbying both of you to get this going right.
[00:29:30] Frederick Weiss: You are seeing results, you're seeing positive results, your your company's growing. What are those people saying to you now? Or have you had any contact with them? Do you need to provide any kind of measurements or proof of this is going well, or Hey, after X amount of time, you need to regain a license or some things such as that, do you mind showing us?
[00:29:57] Frederick Weiss: So
[00:29:57] Faisal Abid: There is I guess it's an audit, right? Like they audit us their regulators often. One of the beauties about the businesses that we really made sure everything was there was a time when I thought about putting stuff on it, internal blockchain, but like really everything needs to be auditable.
[00:30:17] Faisal Abid: And the idea was I'm going to make sure that everything is transparent. And so when the auditors come and they say, Hey, can you tell us your last 10 customers, all the files, all I really have to do is like select star and CQL. And here. And so that's really what happens right now. It happens often.
[00:30:39] Faisal Abid: And that's just the industry we're in and that's just the uncomfortable nature. A tech company playing in this space where there's no tech companies in Canada are doing this. And so the regulators, they want to make sure that the consumer is being protected. So we're, I'm totally fine that they audit us often.
[00:30:57] Faisal Abid: And it's totally okay with me. And it's not a lot of work for me because it is a select star statements. So that is what happens. We're getting in terms of customer feedback, it's been amazing. And to your part about transparency, one of the big things that I wanted to make sure was we're transparent, not even jot in just terms of our price and customer quality and stuff, but we're actually transparent as a technology after you go through us, you shouldn't have to hear from us till.
[00:31:28] Faisal Abid: Unless we need to ask you a question or you need to, or we're coming in delivering, we handle already earns. That's it right? I don't want to be sending of like push notifications and all sorts of stuff that typical companies do because that's how they get engagement for me. The less engagement, the better once you come out and you fill it out, we want you would, you just want to go back to your family and commemorate your lost, loved one and do whatever you need to do without having to worry about Eirene.
[00:31:58] Faisal Abid: And then there's a tech company it's sending me emails. I've had to read it and all that. You
[00:32:04] Brian Hinton: know, one thing I'm curious about, like why do you think that we're not seeing more cases of tech really making change in various segments? Like this? Not just this, but it seems like we're just getting the another image app, another chat app, and oh, now we're going to do audio.
[00:32:23] Brian Hinton: Is it the difficulty of getting in this space or what? No.
[00:32:28] Faisal Abid: So there's two things. I'm sure these spaces are different. But there isn't a lot of VC money nor there is a lot of angel money. It's just not, it's funny because angel money
[00:32:42] Brian Hinton: would fund to invest in something
[00:32:46] Frederick Weiss: sexy enough.
[00:32:47] Faisal Abid: Yes. So that's the thing it's not sexy.
[00:32:49] Faisal Abid: I'll tell you this. We are profitable. As of two, three months ago, we've been profitable despite having, we have eight engineers. We have eight employees, two engineers we're growing rapidly. We're starting to move across Canada. We're in the process of applying and starting to get those licenses, but we're profitable.
[00:33:10] Faisal Abid: Not a lot of tech companies can say that. And this is one of the oxymorons of this industry, I guess the paradoxes where it's just a. The investor money. Isn't, it's hard to actually talk to the investors because the investors are looking for the unicorns and the moonshots. And that's because that's how that business is structured.
[00:33:30] Faisal Abid: It's not that the investor, is
[00:33:32] Brian Hinton: this a moonshot though? Cause you're like, like that's why I don't get there's so many of these here's so
[00:33:37] Faisal Abid: many, it's not sexy. Fundamentally. Fundamentally you have a VC firm where even if the investor personally likes it, the investor needs to justify that.
[00:33:51] Faisal Abid: If say Anderson Horwitz raises a hundred million dollars, they need to write 10 checks of $10 million. If they write one check, say they gave a check to Eirene for $10 million, they need to justify that Eirene might give them a $10 billion, right? And so can I give him a $10 billion exit? Probably in 10, 15 years, perhaps there, the funeral industry has companies that have gone public, but it is not a company that will give them a $10 million exit in three years on like a crazy valuation.
[00:34:23] Faisal Abid: And so that is the, the hard part about the industry. Luckily, we are profitable. So right now we are raising again, it is another friends and family round. And so our, what I did and what Mallory did was when we first raised money we raised 250 K and we say, Let's reach out to entrepreneurs.
[00:34:46] Faisal Abid: We know, because what I found is angels like Brian, you said angels are willing to give the money, but it depends a type of angel. There's a lot of angels that still are trying to on the upper level, nearing VC level, that aren't ready to give money because they're still looking for MRR, SAS type businesses, because those are very predictable.
[00:35:10] Faisal Abid: And if you want to put money in a very predictable business, great MRI and SAS, you show that that this company is going to survive unless there's like a crazy scandal or some big competitor comes and kills you. We don't have MRR. I hope I don't get MRR. I don't know. Family coming to us every week, every month.
[00:35:26] Faisal Abid: And losing someone. So that'd be terrible. Exactly. That's terrible. So what one time experience? And so there, what we Maori and I did was we reached out to all the tech entrepreneurs in Toronto, everyone that we knew and they're very supportive. And so we have some of the smartest entrepreneurs who said, great you're raising to advocate, here's 10 K here's five K, like we'll help you.
[00:35:56] Faisal Abid: And so now that we're profitable, I'm in a very interesting spot because if I was a SAS company, profitable SAS company, I'd be able to raise so much money just going to any Silicon valley investor, but I'm a profitable, non. Non-sexy company. And so for us, it's okay, let's raise another 250 K we're raising again.
[00:36:19] Faisal Abid: Let's our angels are completely on board, but let's try to diversify the pool and add some new angels with a different perspective because our angels have all been helpful in providing their perspective on end of life, providing their help in terms of business lobbying, politics, whatever.
[00:36:38] Faisal Abid: So that's what we're doing now, but it's very hard for business for entrepreneurs to do. Maybe this is just in Toronto also. I don't know if it's different in Silicon valley, but it's hard for entrepreneurs to do non-sexy businesses and get the same level of hype and money thrown at them as if I started an NFT company that sold monkeys.
[00:37:03] Faisal Abid: Like I would get so much money around. Oh, yeah.
[00:37:10] Faisal Abid: Like I'd be on a yacht right now with drawing stupid monkey. That's the difference. And I think that will change. I strongly because what I, what my belief is, what ends up happening is these tech cycles, their bubbles go away. You saw this bubble back in 2012 to 2014, right? With mobile, you built a fart app.
[00:37:34] Faisal Abid: You built your money. That wouldn't be news science through money, and then the bubble burst. And now it's almost impossible to raise money if you're a mobile app, unless you have a solid business. So now it's all about SAS and all that stuff. It's not about the technology and the business model, but I think there's, this idea will go away because now you have crypto and all these other businesses.
[00:37:59] Faisal Abid: Business models, which are most of the time Ponzi schemes that makes zero sense. But you have these different types of business models that don't, that this bubble will explode soon enough. And when does bubble does explode? Investors will start to think about we've made a lot of money because most people will make money.
[00:38:20] Faisal Abid: Anyways, we'll make a lot of money. How do we take this money and invested in really solid business models? And so probably in five years, this will happen and then there'll be another bubble with something else, probably VR or something crazy. And we'll continue with. I just saw
[00:38:36] Brian Hinton: that in Silicon valley.
[00:38:38] Brian Hinton: I just hope all the artists that for like years have been essentially living paycheck to paycheck, hoping they sell a painting, get so much money and cash it all out. Cause they, they totally deserve. Yeah. Listen,
[00:38:52] Faisal Abid: if you can make money off NFTs and crypto do it because that money isn't going to be there next year.
[00:38:59] Faisal Abid: If you can make money, who cares? It's a scam. Anyways, there's the biggest scam like I can go on and on about NFT. I actually was a, still am a big believer in crypto. I'm not a believer in the use case right now because the youth case right now is just about it's funny, I read tweets about how crypto is going to enable the 99% and empower them and all sorts of bullshit.
[00:39:26] Faisal Abid: But all it's doing is just making rich people richer and we're all we're doing is just playing Pokemon. Tons of money, right? So it's not really adding value to the world. All it's doing is just rich. People are going cool. I bought this like monkey or this thing would laser eyes and I'm making more money off it.
[00:39:46] Faisal Abid: And that's it. So one day I hope there's good applications for crypto. I would love to see those, but right now it's not the right
[00:39:53] Brian Hinton: time. We need to get you on the show to talk about crypto and NFTs. And that's,
[00:40:00] Frederick Weiss: who knows where that goes here
[00:40:01] Faisal Abid: I, 2017, I built a, not, it wasn't a company. It was a fun project in crypto.
[00:40:10] Faisal Abid: This was during the first initial hype and I built a gaming call, arcade block. You could bet money and all that stuff. And that was fun. And then it didn't really work out at night. And then I held onto all my crypto and I said, cool, the next, thankfully, this bubble's gone this era of exuberance has gone.
[00:40:30] Faisal Abid: And the next in the next couple of years we'll see actual applications for crypto. And then the next couple of years came into the era of exuberance came back, but now amped up because all the tech people have nothing better to do than just sit home on their computer. And so we just these guys went crazy.
[00:40:49] Faisal Abid: These people went crazy. And then, yeah. And then I'm like, forget it. I'm selling all my crypto. Cause it doesn't make sense anymore.
[00:40:57] Frederick Weiss: Let me ask you I have two questions before we start winding down the first question Faisal. Do you have any kind of competitors in the continental United States that are doing something such as this or doing exactly this and what are their challenges and how are they different from what you are doing now, if they exist at all?
[00:41:23] Faisal Abid: So there's, there might be a bit more, but altogether in this entire planet earth, there's probably six companies that do what Eirene does. There is two companies in America in California and Los Angeles. And California area Portland, Oregon and stuff. One is called solace and another is called tulip.
[00:41:46] Faisal Abid: And then there is one in the UK. I don't remember the name. There's one in Australia. And then there's Eirene in Canada. And I believe there's one more. I can't remember. I think there's two in the UK and all of us do similar things. The closest thing to Eirene is probably two lip. Yeah, I guess to lip or solace to lip is found a tulip got acquired a couple of years ago by a bigger funeral home solace.
[00:42:16] Faisal Abid: It started by X, Nike via VPs or something, some smart guys there. So we're all trying to solve the same problem. There. We're all in different markets and these markets are really tough. So the reason America is very tough, specially California is that there is almost a race to the bottom where there's not a lot of margins.
[00:42:41] Faisal Abid: Because in California, you have to basically own not. You have to buy you pretty much have to own your own crematorium. So now you're suddenly dealing with Latin expansion. If I want to expand to I dunno, LA, I need to go and build a crematorium near LA where I need to be able to transfer funds, real estate. The Eirene business model, really, no one has, and that's a by-product of just the regulation in Canada where I just go and build the crematoriums they're extremely regulated because of environment and all that stuff. And so we've taken a totally different business model approach where we're like, let's just in a lot of ways, it's like Uber, where we're in a, we don't own like Uber doesn't own any of these taxi cars. They just partnered with absolutely everyone. So we're partnering with. Everyone then we want, and the beauty about us is because it's a regulated space. Uber got into a non-regulated space and then they got regulated because we were already in a regulated space.
[00:43:42] Faisal Abid: We already play by the rules. And so we can't tell a crematorium, sorry, we're only going to pay you like a hundred bucks. No, the law says the crematorium must be paid X. So we pay them X. We can make our margin there. And then we're able to just partner with as many criminal terms as possible.
[00:44:02] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. It's a very interesting how all this works. It's actually fascinating to me. The technology in this business model My entire philosophy behind the Eirene is to build the most transparent and ethical business possible. This is something I learned with one of my mentors. He had sold a funny enough, a dating company for a lot of money backing in Canada, back in the nineties.
[00:44:32] Faisal Abid: And one of the things he told me and he's massively wealthy. He told me that there's no point in trying to do dark patterns and like little tiny scams and like hurting people because that will eventually bite you in the ass later on. Try to always build the most ethical and transparent product, because if you actually have a good business, people will pay for it and people will recommend you.
[00:44:55] Faisal Abid: So that's always stuck with me. And so whenever we're building something, it's like, how do I make this as transparent, as simple as possible. So users always feel like there's trust both ways.
[00:45:07] Frederick Weiss: I love that. That's very admirable. Very needed service. Speaking of the services one of the things that I read on the blog, that my last question, before we get through a few things here where we close is acclamation and correct me if I'm wrong.
[00:45:22] Frederick Weiss: If I'm saying that pronouncing it incorrectly, but acclimation has no direct emission of harmful greenhouse gases or mercury, and requires no burning of fossil fuels. So how long does this this process take two. Like it's supposed to be like a alkaline hydraulics or something like that.
[00:45:45] Frederick Weiss: Is this is there the same? I hate to use the phrase here, but turned around if I want to get the service done. And is there like a, obviously this sounds like a much better way to go I'll just let you explain it different.
[00:46:00] Faisal Abid: It is, it's a very eco-friendly environmentally friendly way because there's no harmful emissions being put into the environment and I think it is the future that this is what's going to happen.
[00:46:12] Faisal Abid: The way it works is I don't know the science, but yes, you all right. The technical term is alkaline hydrolysis or acclamation. And what it does is it's 95% water, 5% alkali, and the water molecules and the alkali, everything mixed in with temperature breakdown. It's in this really cool looking occupation machine.
[00:46:33] Faisal Abid: And so when someone passes away and it's really not that even that expensive, it's 2,500 for a cremation $3,000 for an acclimation. And so just 500 more. And I'm sure the price will go down as more people use it. And so the body, it gets put inside this awful machine and it takes around it.
[00:46:55] Faisal Abid: It's not like cremation where it's so fast. But it takes, I think, and I could be really wrong here, but six hours or so to fully Aqua mate a body. But when it's done, what's really nice is the Ash that you get, like the remains, you get a lot more of it because the body dissolves in a very graceful way.
[00:47:18] Faisal Abid: And then the bones are left and the bones are essentially. Broken down. And so you get a lot more of your loved one. And so you have an earn, so families are starting to prefer it because they go, okay. My loved one was very environmentally conscious. So I think they would have appreciated affirmation.
[00:47:39] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. It's amazing all these different services. And I appreciate it. I'm sure others appreciate it as well. And so Faisal we're getting to the end of the show and we'll try to end with a little bit of levity, but at first off, I, if you look outside of your window, is it lightning out there?
[00:48:02] Brian Hinton: I love that
[00:48:09] Brian Hinton: lightning round. Yeah. That's great. Yeah. So you're, you might be familiar with the lightening round. We each ask you a question. I'll go first. You answer it in rapid succession. Let's see how many we can get through a lot. The record is a hundred. Let's try and beat that. Do you actually want pineapple on your pizza?
[00:48:28] Faisal Abid: No.
[00:48:32] Frederick Weiss: Hold on my pizza. What is your honestly what is your favorite thing about yourself? About you?
[00:48:41] Faisal Abid: I can figure it out problems pretty quick. Love it.
[00:48:46] Brian Hinton: What current fact about your life now would absolutely impress your five-year-old.
[00:48:53] Faisal Abid: That I'm actually doing what I love.
[00:48:58] Frederick Weiss: Faisal. If you could not be around a computer for the rest of your life, what would you be doing professionally?
[00:49:06] Faisal Abid: I would make movies. Okay. You're in the circus. Would you rather be the person that sticks their head inside the lion's mouth or shot out of a cannon?
[00:49:16] Faisal Abid: Probably shout out of the candidate?
[00:49:18] Brian Hinton: No one likes the lion.
[00:49:21] Frederick Weiss: Oh, what was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
[00:49:24] Faisal Abid: Probably citizens.
[00:49:27] Brian Hinton: Nice. Nice. Would you rather be able to run at a hundred miles per hour or fly at 10?
[00:49:37] Faisal Abid: Probably. Flashers one. I don't know. Probably fly
[00:49:45] Frederick Weiss: Faisal. What podcasts are you listening to recently for? Just to
[00:49:49] Faisal Abid: relax. Oh, man. I was listening to Lex Friedman, which is a pretty cool podcast. I try to go for the scientists he brings on and it's really interesting.
[00:50:05] Brian Hinton: What chore do you absolutely hate doing
[00:50:10] Faisal Abid: Putting, loading up the dishwasher.
[00:50:13] Faisal Abid: I wish I, someone makes a roadblock for this. Every time I load it on like this needs to be automated
[00:50:21] Frederick Weiss: next year. Musk might bring it out, but Faisal, let me get back to this. What would you tell your 18 year old self? If you could go back in time?
[00:50:30] Faisal Abid: Don't stress about. As I get older, I start to stress less and less.
[00:50:37] Brian Hinton: Okay. You have 30 minutes of completely free time. No obligations. How do you pass it?
[00:50:43] Faisal Abid: I will either play halo or I will lie on the couch and just watch YouTube videos. Love it.
[00:50:50] Frederick Weiss: What are you reading for educational purposes?
[00:50:55] Faisal Abid: I bought this book called crafting interpreters. It is by a Robert and ice storm.
[00:51:01] Faisal Abid: It's a really cool book on building interpreters and stuff. That's been interesting. It's right here. Actually I'll plug the book, please.
[00:51:17] Brian Hinton: What general fact just amazes you
[00:51:22] Faisal Abid: that we are. So tiny in the universe, like I'm fascinated about galaxies and stuff, and just understanding of the scale that we existing, even in the span of time where we're insignificant, it's amazing.
[00:51:38] Frederick Weiss: Faisal. Do you play an instrument? And if you do, what is it? And can you show us?
[00:51:44] Faisal Abid: No, I don't play
[00:51:45] Brian Hinton: an instrument. Good. Try there. I know. You know what he's trying to do there.
[00:51:49] Frederick Weiss: Shh. Don't ruin it for everybody. You're trying to go.
[00:51:53] Brian Hinton: Where do you mind not waiting? You're perfectly fine. Just waiting
[00:51:57] Faisal Abid: In a line to a movie. I have waited like six, seven hours for, to watch a movie.
[00:52:05] Frederick Weiss: What movie?
[00:52:06] Frederick Weiss: That's going to be? My question
[00:52:08] Brian Hinton: three.
[00:52:10] Frederick Weiss: Okay.
[00:52:10] Brian Hinton: Brian, that makes sense.
[00:52:12] Brian Hinton: What do you miss most about being a kid?
[00:52:15] Faisal Abid: I guess like recess and stuff was always fun. There was always drama. And it was always like a reality show happening. So that was fun.
[00:52:25] Frederick Weiss: Th this will be my last question. Faisal, if you could solve just one world problem, what would it be? What would it be?
[00:52:36] Faisal Abid: Ooh energy, probably something to do with energy storage or energy production.
[00:52:44] Faisal Abid: I think just having a lot of energy and being able to store it really well. Just empower so many people in parts of the world where they don't have energy and climate change.
[00:52:57] Frederick Weiss: Nope. No face a hold onto your hat. If you don't have a hat on what you don't for our audio listeners, I said just getting one and putting one on and holding on tight because I believe Brian's going to tell a joke.
[00:53:07] Brian Hinton: No, I, before I go with my last one, I think you should ask the traditional one. You've always asked. It's hot Faisal.
[00:53:17] Frederick Weiss: Faisal. Yeah. That's very well put Brian, thank you so much. Faisal. You come home. It is late. 2 37 in the morning, it is raining cats and dogs like literally. And you're like, ah, you're like, I just need to get in the house you get in your keys, you get in the house, you close it.
[00:53:36] Frederick Weiss: You turn around you look and there's a ghost.
[00:53:42] Faisal Abid: I run prob most likely run.
[00:53:46] Brian Hinton: Well done. Alright. Fair enough.
[00:53:49] Frederick Weiss: Okay. Here's where you should have had that hat on.
[00:53:54] Brian Hinton: You can do the buildup. Why wouldn't the skeleton go trick or treating?
[00:54:00] Faisal Abid: Because it had, I don't know. I don't know because he didn't have any
[00:54:04] Brian Hinton: guts.
[00:54:11] Frederick Weiss: I got one for ya. You ready? Brian? What does a vamp hire? Never order at a restaurant stick.
[00:54:24] Faisal Abid: where are you saying? Speaking of vampire. I hope you guys want, watch what we do in the shadows. I love it. Every
[00:54:31] Frederick Weiss: single episode and the movie. It's so good. I want my witch hat. I love that show. My theory
[00:54:41] Faisal Abid: is going on too oh yeah. And I love Matt Barry. He is just amazed. Oh wait. Yeah. Such a
[00:54:48] Brian Hinton: good show.
[00:54:48] Brian Hinton: I watched a recent vampire one only lovers left alive. Highly recommend that movie so long ago. Yes. I don't believe
[00:54:59] Frederick Weiss: I did. I told you I can't. I saw on Twitter, you said you just watched it. And I was like, Brian, I told you about that forever ago. Go good.
[00:55:07] Brian Hinton: It is really good.
[00:55:09] Frederick Weiss: Yeah. Anyway, Faisal, we're right about at the end.
[00:55:12] Frederick Weiss: Two last things first. What's the best way people could find out about you and Eirene
[00:55:18] Faisal Abid: Are what you have on the screen. You can add me on Twitter. You can add me on LinkedIn or you can go to Eirene.ca directly.
[00:55:27] Frederick Weiss: Excellent. All right, great. And for our last segment,
[00:55:34] Frederick Weiss: thank you for the dancing Brian audio listeners. I suggest you go back and take a look, words of wisdom Faisal. We like to provide our guests with a closing opportunity to provide words of wisdom to our audience, Faisal. The stage is yours.
[00:55:51] Faisal Abid: It's what I did is just work your ass off to try to get to a point where you can do exactly what you want to do how you want to do it.
[00:56:02] Faisal Abid: You'll have to grind for a while. I'm sure many years but grind with the thing with the goal in mind that you're saving for some amount of money for some type of life that you want, and then just do it as soon as you hit that number.
[00:56:20] Frederick Weiss: I love it. Excellent. Thank you so much. Yeah. W Faisal man, we're at the end of the show and I can't thank you enough for sharing your story and talking about Eirene and the amazing product and service that you're putting out there, which I helps out a ton of families.
[00:56:37] Frederick Weiss: In a way that is appropriate especially in this day and age. So it's amazing. And thank you. Thank you so much, Brian. Thank
[00:56:46] Brian Hinton: you. Yeah, thank you. We're spending another bit of your time with us. Time is valuable. Yeah, and you shared it with us and we appreciate that
[00:56:55] Frederick Weiss: now. I really appreciate it.
[00:56:57] Frederick Weiss: So that being said, thank you, everybody really appreciate you watching the show and we'll catch you next time. Take care!