For Austin entrepreneur Adelle Archer, the tragic death of her mentor became a catalyst for starting a business that is changing the way people experience grief. Eterneva, co-founded by Archer and Garrett Ozar in Q4 2017, allows people to commemorate the life of a lost loved one in an astonishing way — by making a diamond out of their ashes. Eterneva’s rapid success landed Adelle on Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30 list as well as Forbes 30 under 30, and ABC’s latest season of Shark Tank where they won the backing of Mark Cuban.
Adelle lost her close friend and hero, Tracey, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in 2015. Because Tracey was such an extraordinary person, Adelle wanted to honor her legacy, but the options she found were underwhelming:
“When Tracey passed away I was looking for something I could do with her ashes. I really wasn’t finding anything. It was crazy. The options that we have now are the same as what we had a hundred years ago. It just felt like there had been such little innovation made,” Archer said.
Soon afterward, she shared her dilemma over dinner with a diamond scientist whom she was working with at the time, and he told her there is carbon in ashes: “If we could extract the carbon from Tracey’s ashes, we could grow a diamond from it.”
Tracey’s ashes became Eterneva’s first diamond, and the business grew, exceeding the company’s expectations by bootstrapping to their first million without taking any outside investment. “For us it is changing the conversation around death, remembrance, and grief,” Archer says.
With burgeoning sales, Eterneva needed to rethink their business model to meet the demand for their product. This would require bringing their equipment in-house. They needed a strong banking relationship to grow.
Archer was introduced to Mark Ruether from The Bank of Austin through a mutual acquaintance, and this connection led to a fruitful partnership. With the financial advice and support from Mark and The Bank of Austin, Eterneva financed their first diamond machine purchase, along with other related equipment expenses. This was a critical component of actualizing their long-term strategy.
Mark and his team understands Eterneva’s capabilities, and Mark believes there is much more growth to come.
“I think the sky is the limit for Adelle, Garrett, and Eterneva, and I’m glad we have the opportunity to work with them along the way. Our Treasury Management services team continuously works with Adelle and her team on finding solutions to meet their unique depository needs. As Eterneva grows, we aim to strengthen and expand our banking relationship with them.”
Adelle moved to Austin from Washington D.C. because she was looking for a business community that believed in cooperation over competition. She found that communal spirit in Austin: “It’s not about climbing over each other to get to the top, it’s about collaborating and seeing how we can have all ships rise together. I think that’s particularly true for the entrepreneurship and the business community in Austin. People just want to help each other.”
Mark says, “Eterneva is not only a unique business to Austin, it is a unique business worldwide. There are very few companies focused in this segment of the market, and I’d venture to say, none of these companies are as focused and passionate about what they are doing and how they are doing it. Adelle, Garrett and their team provide a remarkable experience during a very difficult time in their customers’ lives."