People don’t talk about or plan for the last stage of life. As a result, it’s complex, disorganised, expensive, over-medicalised and full of regret. 

This experience is too well known for Violet CEO and Founder Melissa Reader, whose experience following her late husband’s sudden terminal cancer diagnosis inspired her to address significant gaps in end-of-life care. 

Speaking to OnImpact, Melissa said of her experience, “there were so many things that should have happened that didn’t happen, so many conversations that should have happened, and we never did any planning. I had three little kids under seven. We had our own business and he died without a will.” 

Melissa ran consulting firms for most of her career, but after personally observing the lack of emotional support and the burdensome administrative tasks families face at that last stage of life, she created Violet to help others navigate end-of-life care and planning.

Violet integrated virtual care platform

Violet is an integrated virtual care platform solving practical, emotional and clinical needs as it helps people to plan for and manage the last stage of life. 

It leverages artificial intelligence to provide an empathetic, emotionally intelligent, conversational chatbot companion that offers personalised support and helps users navigate difficult conversations and decision-making. The platform also aids in practical matters such as future care planning and the organisation of vital documents — easing the administrative load during challenging times, or what she terms “Sadmin”. 

“At its core Violet’s work is all about the last stage of life. So we’re looking at the last 12 to 18 months of a person’s life and recognising that we just do a terrible job as a society of acknowledging this as a life stage and we’re not very good at talking about it or planning for it, said Melissa. 

“But sadly, it’s one of the most ubiquitous things that there is, it’s not something we can avoid the reality that we see in our work is that all too often people do too little too late and it just ends up with a very complex disorganised expensive often over medicalised and regretful experience for everybody. 

“We are working to transform how we think about a life stage as a community and what we need to do together in our families as well as across a range of Industries and businesses.  It’s never going to be an easy thing. We know that, but it needs to be a lot better than it is today for everyone involved.

The following video provides a great overview of Violet.

The Violet model

Initially, Melissa established a national not-for-profit that has supported about 18,000 people. She has since spun-off Violet as a separate business — a B2B platform aimed at transforming this crucial life stage that is now “on the cusp of something really interesting in terms of the technology solution”.

Melissa explained, “through the not-for-profit we’ve had this volunteer network of Violet guides delivering really high impact support programs. We’ve got all the proprietary data and insights and learnings from those programs. 

“We’ve taken that to train our own model, providing ‘Violent in your pocket’ and Violet is very responsive to your particular circumstances, your emotional readiness, your cultural context, your language preference, and she takes you on quite an empathetic onboarding experience. We know this is really important because the minute this starts to feel transactional, we’re probably lost our way.

“And people are really overwhelmed and, largely, pretty frightened about this last stage. So she brings you in through onboarding, creating a lot of value in that early experience and then you go over a paywall into the Violet plan. 

“At the moment there are six modules — planning,  financial and legal, memory and legacy, funeral planning, and emotional support. Then there’s also a broad ‘other’ category  because there’s some really interesting and quite diverse stuff that we can provide as part of this plan. The digital companion takes you through all of the completion of that plan, allows you to share it over time — we’ll be linking that up with all the service providers and collecting all the important information in a vault. 

“We’ll then take you into a service marketplace. So if there are gaps in the plan, or things that you haven’t yet figured out, we’ll connect you to the services to do that. Violet has a chance to provide some of those services directly at times, as there are some pretty suboptimal experiences there. I think we will have built the trust and be able to deliver the services ourselves.”

Raising capital to grow a much needed tool 

MLC Life Insurance was one of Violet’s first innovation customers, alongside Medibank, Westpac, and Calvary Health Care. Violet is now in contract negotiations with more leading industry players, with one of the big aged care providers and health insurers increasingly interested. 

“We’ve got those early contracts and customers that we’re working through. We’ve  built our first MVP. We’ve got our first $85,000 of customer revenue, are on track for our first $500,000 revenue, and are working through our next two deals.

“The next goal is to get to $2 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR),” which Violet is aiming for by the end of FY2025, before scaling globally to a +$30 million business. 

Considering that market opportunity, Melissa said, “We’ve got five million baby boomers here in Australia. If we look at a roughly $100 subscription fee and we sign on half the Baby Boomers in the country, that’s a $250 million dollar business. And we would be going global within probably 24 to 36 months, where the US has 100 million baby boomers, and the UK and Canada have 10 million.”

“There are a lot of baby boomers out there that will be caring for elderly parents and…they need a product like this.”

Violet is currently raising $600,000 in a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) and has its first investor secured as part of that round. Melissa tells me they are looking to work quite quickly to bring others in. 

Interested investors can contact Melissa at

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