Beyond Announces £2m Investment and Re-brand to Drive its Disruption of Death Services 1

Beyond, the UK’s only price comparison website for funeral services, announced an investment round of £2m million, which took place in February. The company, which used to be known as Funeralbooker, will use this investment to drive customer acquisition for its growing portfolio of after life services, and today also announces the launch of its rebranded website.

The funding round was led by Talis Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, focused on early-stage technology companies. Beyond’s existing investors, including White Cloud Capital, also participated in the round.

Beyond began offering customers funeral director price comparison services and now partners with over 1,000 independent funeral directors in the UK, representing around 30% of independent directors. From there, the company expanded its service offering to include funeral financing, estate administration and funeral pre-plans. Most recently in March, the Company launched a new product that allows anyone in England or Wales to write a simple will, online, for free.

This round of funding for Beyond comes as the UK government announces an investigation into the funeral sector, following the publication of a short-sell report from Beyond on Dignity PLC, which is generally held responsible by commentators for wiping over 60% (£1bn) from Dignity’s Market Cap.

Ian Strang, Founder/CEO of Beyond said “The funeral market has long failed the consumer and we’re hard at work fixing it. If even 5% of people arranging a funeral or writing a will used our services, the annual saving would be over £1bn. This funding round will give us the ability to get our message out there to the public and change attitudes about shopping around for what is, after all, an inevitable purchase for us all.”

Vasile Foca, Managing Partner at Talis said “Beyond is a dynamic business with a truly unique proposition, which offers consumers transparency and choice in an often-opaque marketplace. With its innovative platform and inspiring leadership team, we believe that Beyond will continue to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted to partner with them as they embark on their next phase of growth.”

Ian Strang, added “It’s great to have an investor like Talis involved because of their deep expertise in the technology sector and experience of working with consumer-facing brands, as well as to enjoy the continued support of White Cloud” he added.”



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1 Comment

  1. Heard of Beyond for the first time today, 27 Jan 2019. Is its role limited to information about comparative costs of using a range of commercial services or does it also include how to minimise or avoid the need to use those services? Is its role limited to the comparative costs of dependency, even when that can be avoided, with appropriate education and information? Put another way, does the protection and promotion of health and welfare, through independence of thought and action, play any part in your functions? That is the legal duty of the NHS but it isn’t a commercial service. It is also the implicit if not explicit legal duty of social services, e.g. with the DoH’s name change to the Department of Health & Social Care.

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Left in its Wake: Cost of Dying Rising Twice as Fast as Cost of Living 0

  • Burial costs up 20% nationwide in just three years
  • Cremation fees see 17.6% increase over same period
  • Prices of other goods have only risen 7.67% in that time

The spiralling cost of dying is rising twice as fast as the cost of living, funeral services comparison site Beyond reveals today, as funeral prices surge ahead of inflation.

While the cost of living has increased by a cumulative 7.67% since 2015, the average price of burials has risen by 19.9% – almost three times as much. The national average price of a burial plot is now an eye-watering £1,838.

Cost of dying soared in the last years

It is a similar story in the cremation market, where fees are up by 17.6% over the past three years. With cremations now accounting for close to 80% of all funerals in the UK, and with close to half a million deaths each year, this is big business. The average price for a cremation is now £784, with some crematoriums charging as much as £1,070.

How average funeral prices have continued to rise:

2015 2016 2017 2018 Total % increase
Crematoriums £667 £713 £751 £784 17.54%
Cemeteries £1,533 £1,631 £1,740 £1,838 19.90%


It has never been more expensive to die, with funerals commonly now reaching £5,000 or more once all additional costs such as cars, coffins and admin fees are included. Beyond’s research raises concerns that a lack of competition is driving prices higher.

Private funeral services firm Dignity run 19 of the 20 most expensive crematoriums in the country, with a direct correlation between an absence of competition and the ability to impose higher prices on grieving relatives with no other options.

Unsurprisingly, London is home to the UK’s most expensive cemeteries with land prices in the capital at a premium for both property and burials. However, it is Wales and the South West that have seen the sharpest hikes in the last 12 months, each with 12% increases for average burial prices in just a year.

James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, comments:

“The numbers of people dying each year is fairly predictable to it’s staggering to see the cost of dying race ahead of the cost of living by such a margin.

“Funeral prices in this country are not something that we particularly enjoy talking about and that means awareness of the relative value presented by providers is low.

“Providers are going unchallenged and consumers are not being well-served by the market, which lacks a great deal of competition. The Government has to get a grip on this escalating costs.”

Coffin Up: Crematoriums Forcing 37% Price Hikes on Bereaved in Monopoly Shake Down 0

  • Lack of competition in certain areas allows providers to charge grieving families far more than national average
  • Crematoriums charge more the further they are from their nearest rival on average
  • Big savings on offer in densely populated areas but those in remote regions most vulnerable to higher prices

Grieving relatives are being burned by cremation costs that are 36.5% above the national average in areas where there is no competition, funeral services comparison site Beyond reveals today.

The average national cremation price has now risen to £784 but some crematoriums are charging up to £300 more than that.

The UK’s ten most expensive are all charging £1,070 and Beyond says it is no coincidence that they are on average 14.4 miles from their nearest rival, creating a monopoly as families balk at travelling long distances to lay their loved ones to rest.

The research comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week announced a review into the spiralling costs of funerals.

A clear nationwide trend reveals how proximity of competition keeps prices lower while distance increases the average cremation costs considerably.

Beyond’s study shows the tipping point for the crematorium monopoly effect is 7.5 miles. If a crematorium is further than 7.5 miles away from its nearest competitor, the average price it charges rises significantly.

The average price at a crematorium less than 7.5 miles from its nearest competitor is £757 which rises to £810 for those further than 7.5 miles away and £830 for those beyond 15 miles.

Cremations now account for close to 80% of all funerals, making it big business for the nation’s crematoriums. The CMA will seek to ensure that consumers are not being exploited, particularly at such a vulnerable and emotional time.

Of the 20 priciest crematoriums in the country, all but one (Parkgrove) are owned by private funeral services firm Dignity, while only one (Beckenham) sits within the 7.5 mile radius, showing how distance from competition can add a significant premium to cremation prices.


UK’s most expensive crematoriums

Crematorium Distance to nearest crematorium (miles) Price of cremation
Moray 47 £1,070
Surrey & Sussex (Crawley) 18 £1,070
Dundee 16 £1,070
Parkgrove (Friockheim) 16 £1,070
The Counties (Northampton) 10.5 £1,070
Heart of England (Nuneaton) 9.5 £1,070
Chichester 9 £1,070
Oxford 8 £1,070
Randalls Park (Leatherhead) 7.5 £1,070
Beckenham 2.5 £1,070
Earlham 18 £1,060
Norwich 13 £1,060
Lancaster & Morecambe 18.5 £1,055
Loughborough 10 £1,035
Basingstoke 12 £1,025
Glynn Valley 23.5 £999
Hawkinge 8.5 £999
Charnock Richard (Chorley) 8 £999
Exeter & Devon 4.5 £999
East Lancashire (Bury) 3.5 £999

London, the most densely populated part of the country, reinforces the trend, with a greater amount of competition forcing cremation prices down in the capital. South West Middlesex Crematorium in Feltham, for example, has the lowest charges of anywhere in the UK at £515, and is within five miles of its nearest competitor.

Beyond says that there are exceptions to the trend but these only demonstrate that some prices are being artificially inflated, because not all crematoriums feel the need to take advantage of an effective monopoly by increasing prices well above the national average.

Aberdeen’s crematorium, for instance, is more than 42 miles from a rival – the fourth biggest distance in the country – yet it only charges £693 per cremation, 12% below the national average of £784.

The crematorium monopoly is not unique to the private sector. Inverness is the most remote crematorium in the country, 51 miles away from any other, and charges £904 – the fifth most of any public provider.

The average price of the top five public crematoriums is £927 while the average distance from a competitor is 24 miles – showing that councils are not immune from cashing in on their advantage either.


UK’s most expensive public crematoriums

Crematorium Distance to nearest crematorium (miles) Price of cremation
Thorncliffe (Barrow-in-Furness) 20 £959
Crownhill (Milton Keynes) 13 £931
Distington Hall (Workington) 29 £924
Haycombe (Bath) 8 £915
Inverness 51 £904


James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, comments:

“For far too long, not enough has been done about spiralling cremation costs. Mourners are being exploited and it’s fantastic news that the CMA has launched its probe into this sector.

“In everyday life it can pay to shop around for a better deal. In death, however, it’s not always possible to go elsewhere and consumers need to be protected when providers can essentially charge what they like.

“Prices should not be allowed to spiral out of control in areas where there is no competition. No provider should be able to cash in on grief in this way.”