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Octopus enters ‘death tech’ market with Guardian Angel acquistion

Octopus Guardian Angel
Image credit: Ground Picture via Shutterstock

Octopus Group is entering the ‘death tech’ market, with the acquisition of London-based digital bereavement startup Guardian Angel.

Founded in 2017, Guardian Angel was created with the idea that dealing with death is difficult enough without having to handle logistics. The startup wanted to use technology to ease the processes that follow death.

“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 Guardian Angel founder and CEO, Sam Grice.

Grice founded the company after the death of his mother, which showed him the “unnecessary stresses” that grieving people “experience after losing someone they love”.

Octopus Group has chosen not to reveal the financial terms of the acquisition agreement. Guardian Angel has, however, raised more than $2m (£1.6m) in prior funding rounds and has grown its customer base to more than 200,000. The firm’s last funding round came in July 2021, when it raised £1.1m.

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

Rogerson said the vision of the company to “change how people feel about death” was “truly exceptional”. 

Rogerson said: “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.”

Octopus said the majority stake acquisition of Guardian Angel will allow the business to scale further. Grice will stay on as CEO, with the rest of the 11 staff members also retaining their positions.