I am Jackson Buntrock, having previously worked in the genealogy industry in a sales and marketing capacity, I saw firsthand how introducing tech-enabled processes can improve the client experience and allow for scalable growth. As a champion of consumers and an advocate for going against the status quo, I began researching additional industries that could benefit from a digital-first approach. That opportunity presented itself within the funeral industry– a market that has largely remained unchanged for hundreds of years and is riddled with antiquated processes. The more I dove into the funeral industry, the more I realized how broken it truly is–and with After.com, we’re on a mission to fix it.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
My parents moved to Arizona in 1999 from South Dakota in search of better opportunities and a better community to raise a family. Despite being born in South Dakota, Arizona has always been my home. I was raised in Mesa, a large suburb outside of Phoenix. My family was always very loving and supportive of me, for which I feel extremely lucky. Both my parents were entrepreneurial as well, which planted these seeds early on for me. My father opened his own law firm and my mother started a cosmetics company. From very early on in life, I saw both the struggles and successes of owning your own business.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always loved building things, ever since I was just a kid. Creating something from an idea has always motivated and inspired me. Like most kids, I worked a few summer jobs and did everything from food service to manual labor. It wasn’t until college that I truly discovered entrepreneurship. I worked for two early-stage startups and fell in love with small companies. The growth, grit, and fast-paced environments were enthralling. I saw one company grow from 20 employees to over 100. It was then I realized I wanted to build something of my own. I ended up dropping out of college and committed full-time to a startup. The founder of that company was a fantastic mentor to me and helped me to spread my entrepreneurial wings which lead to my co-founding of After.com in 2020.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Go for it. The hardest part of starting a business is taking the first, giant leap. Don’t hesitate. The stars never align and you won’t ever feel 100 percent ready or confident when you get started. But all that matters is that you jump. Dive in. Headfirst, even. Odds are, you will either fail or learn. Both are great. Worry less about outcomes and focus on just doing. You will find success as you do it.