Sokna: Egypt’s First End-to-End Funeral Service Founded by Ahmed Gaballah

Sokna Ahmed Gaballah

Sokna is the latest end-to-end funeral service in Egypt. It dedicates its efforts to providing people’s loved ones with care and respect without all the hassle and burden that comes with arranging a funeral. Sokna handles all the logistics and arrangements. It lets people go through their grief without worrying too much about everything else. We sat down with Ahmed Gaballah, CEO and Founder of Sokna to know all about it. 

Where it Started

“It was a disaster from every angle. After that, I decided that I’ll never do it again. It affected me personally for quite some time. Therefore, for 10 years, I stopped attending funeral services. Even when my own grandmother passed away. I didn’t know how to console anyone. I didn’t like anyone to console me too.” Said Ahmed Gaballah on his experience with funerals and the reason why Sokna started. 


Ahmed Gaballah’s story started many years ago. It began when he found himself in a position to help out with the arrangements of his best friend’s father’s funeral. On that one day, Gaballah’s perception of how funerals work in Egypt totally shifted, leaving him with a sense of uneasiness and grief that stayed with him for years after that day. After Sixteen years of working at Google, Adobe, and Facebook, and many years after his Experience in Egypt, Gaballah decided to come back to Egypt in 2019 and start Sokna. 

“That experience really affected me. I remember we went to the health bureau. We found a long queue and they told us to go get the official papers and the ID from home, which was a hassle. We got lost and we couldn’t make it to the cemetery. Turns out we were driving behind the wrong car because everything looked the same.” Continued Gaballah

The process of getting Sokna to where it is now didn’t end there. After partnering up with hospitals in order to be punctual and meticulous with each funeral. Gaballah had to think of more ways to recruit people on his team, especially experienced undertakers and funeral directors who can lead the funerals with peace, respect, and love. 


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Sokna’s Team

Ahmed Gabballah also stressed the importance of having a diverse team that is understanding and empathetic to the families. With now a team of over 70 employees from all backgrounds and lines of work, Sokna truly takes pride in the family it created. 


“People either really care about helping others at their toughest moments, or they have seen this before and know how painful and exhausting it is. This empathy and care are what I want in my team.” Stressed Gaballah on Sokna’s team 

Gaballah also made sure to speak of the amazing women that work at Sokna, tributing their truly amazing efforts to make Sokna grow every day. 


“Women have been driving and leading this company from day one. […]  They’re stronger than anything you might think of. Our call center manager leads everything and she does the training for an entire team of 7 or 8. Some of the best and most successful funeral directors are women.” Said Gabballah happily 

Training Program

With everything that Sokna is doing every day, they have a great onboarding program that allows the employees to prepare emotionally and technically for the funerals and to help out people as much as they can. The onboarding program includes instructions on how to talk to the families, navigation expertise, shadowing, and many other things.

Sokna“We have an incredible onboarding program. People go into a training program for the first three months to feel confident. […] There’s also a shadowing phase so they look at the older team and see what they have done. They read all the research and findings that we’ve done before. They also attend some of the services just to shadow.” 

“The second part of the onboarding program is emotional, how can you prepare someone emotionally to handle something like this? How can you help people go through their grieving in a way that allows them to do that? Without us being distracting. One of our biggest things is for us to be there but not really there.” 

Breaking the Stigma

With the ever-growing love and care Sokna gives to its people. It is also contributing to breaking the stigma of certain lines of work that are looked down upon by society. Gaballah described the challenges the undertakers go through, from not being able to turn off their phones, to the shame that surrounds their jobs, they simply can’t take a break. 

Gaballah emotionally shared the story of an undertaker who has called him and thanked him for what Sokna’s doing for his life. He proceeded to say that the undertaker’s son, for the first time, really looked at him and told him how proud he was of his father. 

“I thought that was a great success, these are the things that matter to me, and to the company.” Said Gaballah



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The Challenges

Sokna kept growing, but the company for sure faced a lot of challenges to get to the place it is now. One of the challenges was to get people to join the team at first, as the first ten hires were very tough. Gaballah talked of these challenges and how they overcame them. 

“The first challenge was resistance. The undertakers resisted the idea of going into the private sector. We wanted them to know that we weren’t there to take their business, that we were there to help transform the space and think through the problems to find solutions” Said Gaballah 


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“There was a lot of chaos. The logistics, to understand all the details and the locations of the medical centers, where the health offices are, how the paperwork goes, what to do if you don’t have a death certificate or an ID.” He continued 

Constantly Growing

Gaballah then talked about overcoming those problems by having an actual hierarchy, and a true trustworthy process that allows all questions to be answered and addressed. Moreover, Sokna’s process includes constant learning and hiring experts and people who have been in the field for over 30 years. He also mentioned always having consultants and legal advisors to support and validate what Sokna’s doing. Alongside investors who truly care about what Sokna’s doing. 

“We gathered a million dollars last year. We interviewed our investors and we made sure that they were beneficial to us and were touched by what we were doing. They’re local pioneers here in Egypt and the others are across the globe in the US and Europe and Singapore.”

“There isn’t a day where we decide that we’re done learning. […] Everything that we do is a learning experience and we always aspire to be better as a team.” Gaballah continued 

Sokna always seeks growth and the comfort of its people. That is why it always makes sure to expand its services to help everyone. From their great customer support to answer all questions to the latest introduction of their pre-planning services.


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Ahmed Gabballah introduced the pre-planning services because many people have a lot of fear of the future, and sometimes people are just shy to ask or worry out loud in order not to burden their loved ones. Consequently, Sokna introduced this pre-planning service to let people know that they hear them and are addressing their concerns. 

“We found that a lot of people were interested in that arrangement. The first one who signed up for it was a 38 year old woman and she was super healthy. She just wanted to make her own decisions. She didn’t want her family to fight over when she passes away.” Said Ahmed Gabballah 

Just like Sokna’s motto “Feel safe, feel Sokna”, the space and the team are as welcoming and loving as anything else. Sokna strives for a comfortable environment among its people. That truly shows in their hard work and the level of understanding they provide others. 


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“Feel Safe, Feel Sokna.”

Sokna is not just a company. It is a collection of a really diverse set of people who want to make a change. It is a collection of people who know and understand what it feels like to go through grief. They in return want to help out in making the process as easy as it can get. 


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Sokna started with 3 people and now they’re over 70. Also, they are partnering up with companies to let employees all over Cairo have access to their services. Sokna has been able to help more than 3000 families find peace and comfort. They helped them in every way by letting them go through their grieving process, as every person should. 


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Ahmed Gabballah’s efforts to bring Sokna to where it is now have been incredible. The amount of love and care he put into his work and his team are truly evident in his words. It is evident in the great love and feedback people are showing Sokna as well. After 16 years in tech, Ahmed Gabballah came back and made a great change in an issue that made things so much harder for a lot of families. We truly can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!

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