Octopus buys tech firm to help people prepare for death

Octopus buys tech firm to help people prepare for death
Simon Rogerson, co-founder and CEO of Octopus Group

Octopus Group has bought a majority stake in tech company Guardian Angel as a way to help people prepare for and manage death. 

Guardian Angel was founded in 2017 by Sam Grice, who unexpectedly lost his mother in a car accident and struggled to find the support systems he needed to cope with her death. 

The London-based company’s founding belief is that death is tough enough, and it has embarked on a mission to use technology and real-life, human experience to make sure death is not any harder than it needs to be. 

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Its products and services help people to create a plan for the future and to deal with loss in the present. 

In less than four years, Guardian Angel has helped more than 220,000 customers and their families.

Sam Grice, founder and chief executive officer of Guardian Angel, said: “The death market is one of technology's last frontiers. Losing a loved one is among the hardest things anyone goes through, and it should be spent processing grief - not buried in paperwork and admin. 

“After my mum died suddenly, I have worked hard to build a company that removes the unnecessary stresses that my family, and so many others, experience after losing someone they love.”

Grice said his team “can’t fix those experiences”, but has created a company using technology that can make it easier.

Among its proactive planning tools, Guardian Angel has created a credit score for death, which tells customers how prepared they are for death and points out which insurance, legal and financial actions they can take to be better prepared. 

To support families going through bereavement, it has a support hub with private online communities for bereaved families and friends to get help, share memories and streamline communication in one place.

Ruth Handcock, CEO of Octopus Investments and new chair of Guardian Angel, said: “We are incredibly excited to welcome Sam and his team into the Octopus family of businesses. There’s nothing we love more than finding passionate founders and helping them to realise their bold ambitions. 

“We have been deeply impressed by the business Sam has created, and the scale of distribution that they have built in a very short space of time.”

Guardian Angel’s customer base is made up of B2B partners, including charities such as the Royal Horticultural Society, the V&A and St Christopher’s Hospice; funeral directors such as Signature Funerals; and employers. The company also has a direct-to-consumer presence.

Simon Rogerson, co-founder and CEO of Octopus Group, said: “Death is a taboo topic. Hardly anyone talks about, let alone tackles, how to make death more human. 

“Meeting Sam at Guardian Angel was an incredibly refreshing antidote: their vision to change how people feel about death, how they prepare for it and how they deal with it, is truly exceptional.”