Octopus Group has acquired a majority stake in DeathTech business Guardian Angel.

The London company was founded in 2017 by Sam Grice (pictured), who unexpectedly lost his mother in a car accident and struggled to find the support systems he needed to cope with her death.

It seeks to change the way people prepare for and manage death. In less than four years, Guardian Angel has helped more than 220,000 customers and their families.

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, Guardian Angel has a support hub with private online communities for bereaved families and friends to get help, share memories and streamline communication in one place.

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.

“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,” said CEO Grice. 

“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. 

“Our team can’t fix those experiences, but we have created a company, using technology and human experience, that can make it easier.”

In recent years Octopus Group has backed the leadership teams of energy technology pioneer Octopus Energy, Octopus MoneyCoach, a company providing greater access to financial coaching, and Seccl, a business building technology to help more people to invest.

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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. At Octopus, we believe that the most successful companies will not only solve society’s biggest problems, but also behave in a way that is reassuringly human. 

“Guardian Angel is a perfect example of this driving belief. In backing Sam and his team, we hope that Octopus can be a catalyst for further positive and meaningful change in supporting people through death.”

In addition to acquiring a majority stake in the business, Octopus will also invest capital into Guardian Angel to help scale the business. Grice will retain his role as CEO and its current 11-strong team will also remain in the business. 

Ruth Handcock, CEO of Octopus Investments and the chair of Octopus MoneyCoach and Seccl, will act as chair for Guardian Angel.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Sam and his team into the Octopus family of businesses,” she said. “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 customers rightly love the business for the simplicity its products and services bring to a scary, overwhelming and grief-filled life event. 

“We hope to help Guardian Angel accelerate its mission and solve problems for more customers.”

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