Almost £500k invested in ‘death tech’ start-up

Funding | North East | North West | Start-up | Technology
Guardian Angel
Alistair Asher and Rod Bulmer, Strategic Advisers and investors, Guardian Angel; Sam Grice, Guardian Angel founder and Andrew Weisz, Financial Director, Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel, a Northern-based ‘death tech’ start-up, has closed its pre-seed round raising £492K.

Guardian Angel is a free and private online platform that simplifies the bereavement process by connecting families, friends and funeral directors together. Alongside the funding, Guardian Angel has brought two former Co-op executives onto its strategy team.

Guardian Angel was founded in 2017 by former financial professional Sam Grice, following the unexpected death of his mother in a road accident. Having been personally exposed to the end-of-life industry, the lack of digital efficiency became evident as Sam and his family struggled to coordinate the tasks and sudden influx of communications.

The secure platform aims to reduce the stress in the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s death by enabling you to coordinate support from family and friends. There is a ‘Key times’ function which informs people when they can visit and when you and your family would like to be alone. Its ‘To-Do list’ allows you to manage all tasks and ask friends for help. You can share funeral information privately and it also staggers support, like flower deliveries, so they do not all arrive at once.

Sam Grice, Guardian Angel founder said: “The support we received from well-meaning family and friends after mum’s accident was amazing. However, managing that support together with organising a funeral and wake, something I had never done before, proved immensely difficult during one of the most stressful periods of my life. And I’m not alone. Most of us have or will experience the death of a loved one and face the same issues that I did.

“The funeral sector has been slow to modernise and digitise its services but we are talking to funeral directors on a daily basis about the benefits of creating a Guardian Angel support hub for their clients, as we believe technology can really help in the bereavement process.”

Guardian Angel aims to use this investment to improve its current digital platform and to develop a tool to make the process of planning for the inevitable easier.

As part of the raise, two members of the NorthInvest Angel network, Rod Bulmer and Alistair Asher, agreed to come on board as financial and as strategic advisors. Between them, they have contributed a six-figure investment.

Professor Adam Beaumont, Founder of NorthInvest commented: “NorthInvest has attracted investment to several scalable platforms which address challenges or opportunities on a global scale.  Guardian Angel is one of such platforms and we’ll watch with interest – I believe their empathic approach to helping deal with difficult issues in an efficient way can not only be a successful start-up but make a positive impact to many.”

Guardian Angel has also attracted ex-Goldman Sachs MD Andrew Weisz who will act as Financial Director going forward.

The investment opportunity excited Bulmer for multiple reasons. He said: “Like many professional services, the funeral and end-of-life planning industries are only now starting to go through significant digital change. There is a real opportunity for an independent platform to help families through this process and provide a vehicle to promote active communities discussing the subjects around death openly and honestly.

“To this point, I don’t think there is anything in the market that is truly independent or that has been executed correctly. This is a real opportunity for Guardian Angel, which has an ethos focussed on support.”

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