Dying a digital death
Dying has always sucked. But it just keeps getting messier. Today when we die, we’re not just leaving behind a fridge full of decade’s old salad dressing and unused exercise equipment for our loved ones to dump. Instead, a lot of our “keeper” stuff lives behind password-protected gates. (So before I break into another rant, check a previous issue here on my troubled relationship with passwords.)
It’s the digital stuff that has real value: dollars, bitcoins, pics of privates. You get the picture. Or you don’t, because you don’t have your rich aunt’s damn passwords…
Even with the $1 trillion death-planning industry well-established, 90% of U.S. adults don’t know what happens to their digital assets when they die.
Our new digital lives (or rather, deaths) are calling for new solutions. Here are some of the startups who’ve got your back(up).
Opening the crypt(o) → Casa
I’m starting out niche. Today, ~20% of all bitcoins are “lost.” And a big chunk of that happens when an investor dies without sharing access to their wallets/accounts. For people who love to advertise that they’re crypto-heads, but also want to acknowledge their mortality, this one’s for you.
Casa uses multiple keys–each stored on a separate device–to protect your bitcoin. Three keys protect your bitcoin, but you only need two to spend it. So, if you’re prone to losing your phone like me, you’re not totally screwed. They also have a crypto inheritance subscription service? Smart. Expensive.
If you’re shopping options, check out angel-backed Clocr. Their digital safety vault “shreds” passwords and delivers them to multiple locations. Oh, and bonus points for being founded by a father-daughter duo.
Venture status: Buoyed by 3X revenue growth in 2020, Casa raised a $4M Seed round led by Fidelity’s blockchain-focused Avon Ventures in February of 2021. Fidelity & blockchain? Looks like niche is starting to set up shop on main street.
The ultimate anxiety-reducer → Cake
One of the few silver linings to Covid is that we’ve accepted there’s actually a point to emergency planning (no, not toilet paper).
Whether it’s gifting your social media accounts or dictating the real-you tombstone epitaph, Cake’s Tinder-like question format makes it easy to share dying wishes. Better yet, because they make money from affiliates and enterprise partners like MassMutual, the service is 100% free.
Important to note: There’s no account or password storage feature with this one, so a password manager is a must-add.
Venture status: To date, Cake has raised $3.3M in funding, closing a $1.7M round led by Pillar VC in January 2020. Like I said, Covid has been good for the Cakes of the world. The company saw a 427% increase in planning activity in the first two months of the pandemic.
Insurance for your digitals → GoodTrust
For good reason, you need a court order to unlock accounts with the Googles, Apples, and Facebooks of the world. But if I die any time soon, I’ll rest easier knowing I didn’t bequeath the loved ones a lawsuit.
With a solid Dickensonian name, GoodTrust is your all-encompassing solution. Their “full-service digital legacy platform” lets you store docs and online account info. Your choice whether to share with friends or family right away or after you pass. Major props for the customization options here–exposing my bulk chocolate-of-the-month problem can wait.
Venture status: GoodTrust recently raised a $2.3M Seed round led by Bling Capital. Switching it from Dickens to Phillip Dick: Their latest project is using AI tech and facial recognition to make your photo memories come alive.
With more of our life in the Matrix, we need to do a better job with our “notify in case of death” list.
Next up: Death. (Notice the mood I’m in?)