An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Renee Fry (founder and CEO) of Gentreo, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Gentreo – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
About ten years ago, our parents paid $10,000 for estate planning, which was a strain on their budget. My sister Julie and I helped our parents through this process, where we answered standard questions and received standard paperwork, which promptly got stuffed “somewhere safe”. Julie, who has extensive experience in aging related issues, and I talked about the experience, and we decided there had to be a better way. We found there wasn’t, so we invented it.
We started Gentreo to help everyone prepare for their family affordably and easily – we believe that estate planning is for everyone. It covers who will make your health care or financial choices if you can’t, who will take care of your pets, and who will make sure all of your decisions are carried through after you pass away. As our Gentreo estate planning attorney says, “We all hope that emergencies never happen, but they do. Be prepared to save your family time, money and heartache.”
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
It is a very busy world we are living in. Getting people to know Gentreo, understand how Gentreo can help them, and then to buy a Gentreo membership is my focus right now. If families prepare with Gentreo, they can save thousands and thousands of dollars, lots of heartache, and countless hours. Hearing stories from our users about how Gentreo was there to help, whether it was through making sure a pet received care, or knowing their wishes were followed to the letter after experiencing the death of a loved one, is priceless.
What does the future hold for Gentreo?
Our goal is to help our end customers be successful in this journey that life is. With our comprehensive and affordable product, this work makes our partners (whether they are employers, financial institutions, or benefit providers) know they have a partner helping their clients through all of life’s ups and downs. That is something missing in the market today and we fill that void.
Gentreo has partnered with many organizations that are now helping us to gain customers as they share in our mission to help everyone protect their healthcare decisions and everything else for which they have worked so hard. From credit unions to financial planners for those with all kinds of income levels, we want to make sure these partners have the right materials to motivate their clients to do estate planning. Our hope is that there are no more stories of families losing their homes to relatives they’ve never met who live in another country, or stories of judges deciding who is now the guardian of your children if you and your spouse passed away without a will. All of us need to be protected and estate planning is for everyone!
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Quincy?
I’m excited by the innovation and growth! I am constantly hearing about interesting new products, SaaS, and even blockchain technology. I can’t help but also give a shout out: Gentreo’s offices are hosted by QUBIC Labs, a startup incubator and innovation hub here in downtown Quincy, and they have given us a ton of support.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
First, I would advise boldness. Ask for support or help if you need it, and also sometimes even when you don’t think you do. I would also caution that not making a decision is a decision. Choose your path.