- Farewill, a startup that makes it easier for people to write their will, has seen a 300% increase in demand for its services since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- At a time where many companies are worried about their future the startup, which helps customers write legal wills in 15 minutes, has had to hire more staff to cope.
- “It’s been a very unusual time for us,” Farewill cofounder and CEO Dan Garrett told Business Insider in an interview. “We want to do away with the cultural and emotional aversion to death, we spend a lot of our time dealing with the emotional side of things as well as legal.”
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Farewill, a company that speeds up the process for writing a will, says it has seen a 300% increase in demand for its services since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, founded in 2015, helps people write legal wills in as little as 15 minutes.
The firm finds itself in the unusual position of trying to hire 15 to 20 new staff to cope with a spike in demand, as peer startups consider layoffs and a potential cash freeze.
“It’s been a very unusual time for us,” Farewill cofounder and CEO Dan Garrett told Business Insider in an interview. “We want to do away with the cultural and emotional aversion to death, we spend a lot of our time dealing with the emotional side of things as well as legal.”
It isn’t simply that people are worried about how long they might live. One of the main factors for the increase has been the social distancing and self-isolation measures taking place across the UK. The funeral and will-writing business are very traditional and based on the high street. As non-essential businesses close, online alternatives are more popular, according to Garrett.
Garrett claims Farewill’s services are significantly cheaper than traditional options due to the lack of brick-and-mortar operations plus tech solutions which help to reduce the startup’s cost base to supposedly 25% of the rest of the market.
“Death and dying is the biggest consumer industry untouched by tech,” Garrett said. “It’s a $150 billion market worldwide but only 2% of it is online. It’s not because the technology is unfeasible but humans don’t want to talk about dying.”
Part of the reason for bringing new staff on board has been the high level of elderly callers to Farewill in recent weeks. Over 70s are deemed to be a high-risk group under UK medical advice, but many don’t feel comfortable or safe using the internet, meaning Farewill will prioritize phone lines to help older customers.
“Our team is stretched and working day and night to meet demand,” Garrett added. The company currently has 60 staff. Garrett declined to give specifics on the number of users it had or details on the new number of daily inbounds but said that his company wrote around 10% of the 750,000 wills written each year in the UK and that the number was increasing.
Farewill has raised £8 million ($9.3 million) to-date from Augmentum, Jam Jar Ventures, Kindred Capital and others. With the increase in business, Garrett told Business Insider the company was actively looking to fundraise.
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