Octopus Group, a group of entrepreneurs and investors backing the people, ideas and industries that will change the world, today announces it is acquiring a majority stake in Guardian Angel, as it looks to change the way 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 isn’t any harder than it needs to be. 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.
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.
Sam Grice, Founder and CEO 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. Our team can’t fix those experiences, but we have created a company, using technology and human experience, that can make it easier.“
Octopus Group has a long history of backing entrepreneurs who are building businesses with the power to transform the world in which we live, while disrupting age-old industries. Over the last few years, we’ve backed the leadership teams of Octopus Energy, a global energy technology pioneer with award-winning customer service; Octopus MoneyCoach, a company providing greater access to financial coaching; and Seccl, a business building technology to help more people to invest.
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. Sam will retain his role as CEO of Guardian Angel 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.
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 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.”
“Ours is a bold mission, much like the Octopus Group mission, and is one that needs an ambitious, purpose-led team with committed investment to match. After meeting Simon, Ruth and the wider team at Octopus, I knew that we’d found our match. Octopus is known for offering smart, simple solutions to everyday pain points in a way that leaves customers feeling totally taken care of. Many of our customers are in the most vulnerable time of their lives. It was always important to us to partner with someone who will share our commitment to prioritise the customer, above all else.
“By joining Octopus, I believe we can achieve our vision to become the UK’s go-to brand when people talk about, plan for and deal with death. In doing so we can make some of the toughest times of millions of people’s lives easier, so that they can focus on what really matters.”
Octopus Group was advised on the acquisition by Mark Wesker, Partner, at Osborne Clarke.