CEI Small Business Development (SBDC) client Kasey Smith, founder of EterNav, has been making headlines in Maine, both as an awardee of the Maine Technology Institute’s Seed Grant and Tech Start Grant, and as a competitor in this season’s televised Greenlight Maine competition. Both Ann McAlhany and Betty Egner, Business Advisors for the Maine SBDC at CEI, have been an integral part of the EterNav advisory team.
EterNav (short for eternal navigation) brings new technology and support to families faced with the unexpected passing of a loved one, offering more affordable, personalized and convenient bereavement solutions. Smith’s background in technology startups and personal experiences dealing with loss, led her to see great need for modern 21st century technical tools and a step by step process to navigate the practical tasks and action steps that follow the loss of a loved one. This became the impetus for EterNav, a system that assembles all the elements needed for a funeral, whether the family elects to work with a funeral home or not. EterNav’s easy to use, online software lets families honor their loved one with a dignified and respectful funeral of their choosing, that doesn’t break the bank.
“Today’s consumer demands change,” Says Smith. “Currently, those faced with unexpected loss do not have access to the right information when needed, or access to the numerous choices that are available to them. EterNav is about transparency and our technology gives control of this very personal process, back to the family.”
Smith first came to CEI seeking overall business mentoring, which she found in Betty Egner.
“Betty has connected me with vitally needed resources from market validation to high quality human resources that were key to taking this business from a dream to reality. This kind of attention to business needs has allowed me to always be moving forward. Betty has put me in the position of using my best strengths and shown me ways to not get stuck in the process. This elevated view has been a difference maker.”
–Kasey Smith, founder of EterNav
Ann McAlhany’s vast experience with the tech world was an invaluable resource in assembling the many pieces necessary for her complex tech start-up company. Her expertise especially leveraged MTI funding programs for EterNav. McAlhany’s technical support helped Smith get through a detailed proposal process by keeping her focused and prepared. “What Ann is doing in helping technology based businesses is desperately needed in our state,” says Smith.
To date, Smith has acted as the personal loss advocate for nearly 100 families. From the time EterNav was incorporated in 2013, to its launch in 2016, 2 full-time and 3 part-time jobs have been created. Maine Technology Institute has just awarded her both a Seed Grant and Tech Start Grant, totaling over $28,000. Watch for Smith’s Greenlight Maine episode 8 premier Saturday, November 19th, as she competes for $100,000 funding.
“I believe this client will change the world for those experiencing loss.”–Betty Egner, Business Advisor at Maine Small Business Development Center at CEI