August 8, 2022

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Latest news from tech-feeds around the world.

GoodTrust raises $5M to protect your digital legacy for your loved ones


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GoodTrust has raised $5 million to protect your digital legacy as the “death tech” startup tries to solve what we do with our online account after we die.

GoodTrust is a digital life and legacy platform that helps families organize their digital lives today and prepare their online assets for the day they pass away. It addresses the growing problem of what happens to our priceless online accounts, photos, documents, crypto, and assets when we die. And it helps us prepare and organize while we’re still alive.

The company also recently launched Singing Portraits, a humorous product that uses AI to immortalize people singing fun songs. “It’s a fun way to kind of make those old memories come alive a little bit,” said CEO Rikard Steiber in an interview with VentureBeat.

GoodTrust is expanding fast this year and it has created partnerships in the insurance, funeral, death care, and benefits spaces.

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“We have grown to 80,000 customers. Once you have the digital vault, you can share all of your documents, accounts, your photos, your assets, and share it with someone today or only when you die,” Steiber said.

The investors include Moxxie Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Concrete Rose Capital, Bling Capital, Synetro Ventures, Azure Capital Partners, Alumni Ventures, Primer Holdings, Gaingels Network, and Lane VC. Several current and former Google executives are also investors, including Nikesh Arora, Margo Georgiadis, Scott Levitan, Arjan Dijk, Tony Fagan, Jori Pearsall, and Gopi Kallayil. The funding comes after the Palo Alto, California-based company previously raised $2.3 million in January.

“All of us have experienced the loss of a loved one,” said David Weiden, founding partner at Khosla Ventures, in a statement. “GoodTrust solves the growing issue of what happens to our priceless digital assets, online accounts, and assets when we die, protecting our precious memories and legacy for everyone.”

Getting started

Above: GoodTrust says it helps protect your digital legacy.

Image Credit: GoodTrust

Steiber, former head of the HTC Vive online store, founded the company after friends died during the pandemic. He saw their family members struggle to complete tasks like closing social media accounts, securing photos, and dealing with financial services accounts.

With GoodTrust, you can set up an account that will take care of your digital affairs after you die. That might sound ghoulish to some, but we don’t want to leave our loved ones with a big mess. GoodTrust’s platform protects your memories and digital assets, including accounts, photos, social media, financial data, and documents.

The company has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Veterans Day to offer all veterans free usage of the GoodTrust Premium Plan and a copy of the company’s book, Digital Legacy.

There are other services that cover some of the same ground, but GoodTrust tries to handle all of the legal, financial, and emotional legacies heirs typically have to deal with. And it has moved into enabling people to create their own wills, trusts, and other legal documents, such as durable power of attorney and health care declarations.

A big need

Above: A family can rest easier with GoodTrust in place, the company says.

Image Credit: GoodTrust

With 80,000 accounts this year, the company is just at its beginning. Around the world, 150,000 people die every day. While each tragedy affects loved ones on a personal level, it also means the number of deceased people on the internet is growing fast.

You can designate and share access with loved ones and other trusted third parties to organize your digital afterlife. GoodTrust also recently launched new features, including Last Goodbyes to create a time capsule with an email, social post, or video that can be shared after someone passes away.

Beyond the task of tracking down sites that you never knew existed, shuttering an account on someone else’s behalf is made more complicated by legal requirements that vary from site to site. Retrieving personal photos from a loved one’s account on Google, Apple, or Facebook requires expert legal knowledge and a court order. Those companies aren’t trying to make a survivor’s life hard — just think of the consequences if they turned over an account to someone claiming to be a survivor when the “deceased” person was still alive.

Above: GoodTrust’s latest investors.

Image Credit: GoodTrust

Even if the family is aware of all of their loved one’s online accounts, most families are overwhelmed by the process of closing them down. But when these accounts lie idle, the individual’s information is at risk of being lost forever or even hacked.

“As our digital and physical lives are now forever intertwined, we all need a new way to organize our digital lives and legacy,” said Steiber. “We believe that all people have the need to control their digital life and afterlife and ensure their priceless memories and assets are preserved.”

In addition to a direct-to-consumer business, GoodTrust offers its service as a benefit to enterprise partners in the insurance, financial, and funeral industries, as well as to employee or member organizations like AARP’s Rewards program.

Recent surveys show that some 65% of U.S. adults do not remember their passwords, and another shows that most people have made no plans for what happens to their digital stuff when they die. And two-thirds of U.S. adults do not have a will today, with minorities reporting even lower rates of having wills.

“This summer, we launched a new feature where you can create your will for yourself and your family at no extra cost,” Steiber said. “We also let you create estate planning documents that we all should have. Two-thirds of Americans don’t have a will, which is kind of crazy, especially if you have kids.”

GoodTrust offers the ability to create a free will, funeral directive, and durable financial power of ,attorney with more directives coming in early 2022. Broadly, GoodTrust’s solutions include a Digital Vault, Free Will and Directives, Digital Executor service, and meaningful ways to share life stories.

In the GoodTrust Digital Vault, users can store access to important accounts, documents, social media, photos, and device passcodes. GoodTrust provides a straightforward and simple way of managing all these assets today, as well as designating and sharing access with loved ones and other trusted third parties. GoodTrust also helps you manage the online accounts of a loved one who has passed away via a unique Digital Executor service.

Another important part of anyone’s digital legacy are our life stories. GoodTrust offers tools to enhance and preserve stories and memories through animated photos (GoodTrust Memories) and messages sent via a “digital time capsule” (Future Messages), with more to come.

Just in time for the holidays, GoodTrust has also launched Singing Portraits, which lets anyone create a lasting and shareable memory with any photo, coupled with a favorite song. The AI and facial-recognition technology are provided in partnership with D-ID.

Singing Portraits is designed to encourage people to also consider their lasting digital memories and assets. A limited number of Singing Portraits are available with a free GoodTrust account, or users can create 10 per month with a  premium plan ($8/month), which includes a Digital Vault to store account access and content, Will and Directives, and increased online storage. A pet directive is on the way.

The company has 15 employees.

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