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Meet DeadHappy, the life insurer who wants to change the narrative of ‘death’ before it’s too late. DeadHappy has been named one of Europe’s top insurtech startups, receiving funding from VC firms such as Octopus, 4Ventures, Verso, and Volution.
We had the opportunity to speak to Phil Zeidler about his reasons for starting DeadHappy, what his plans are for the future and how they’re changing the perception of death, for the better.
What was your career history prior to launching DeadHappy?
I have been in insurance all my career, founding three companies between 1993 and 2001. The last business, “Junction’ (since renamed), became the largest white labelled partnership business for general insurance in the UK. Junction had over 1 million customers through partnerships with the Post Office, M&S Money, HSBC, Barclays and more.
I went on to invest and Chair a range of businesses both in the insurance sector (such as Simply Business and IGO4) and in a range of other sectors such as Health, Music and retail.
Why did you decide to start DeadHappy and what is the purpose behind the business?
After a personal near-death experience, I came across life insurance which has always been quite separate from the general insurance market. What I found was a product completely designed around the industry. It was totally ignorant of the customers needs or wants.
As a consequence, I discovered the enormous protection gap, where so many people had failed to access life insurance because of the appalling process and lack of engagement, leaving hundreds of families every week in financial ruin and millions vulnerable.
What makes DeadHappy stand out from its competitors?
Pretty much everything. From our branding, to our tone of voice, facing death (many companies still refuse to use the ‘D’ word!), and the engagement with our unique Deathwish platform. As a customer, you actually get to decide what you want to happen when you die. Our product is simple to buy (3 minutes on your mobile phone), affordable, and flexible. Customers can adjust the product to meet their needs as they change over time.
How would you describe your team and their impact on the business so far?
It doesn’t matter how good the idea or product is, it’s all about execution, and we are fortunate enough to have an amazing team with a very broad experience. Most of them have worked in startups before, and we have carefully crafted a culture of collective team work with individual responsibility that ensures extraordinary productivity.
Prior to this crowdfunding round, have you dabbled in fundraising before?
I have been involved in various VC/PE backed businesses, and this Seedrs round is our fourth fundraise for Deadhappy. The first two were pure VC backed rounds, and we introduced the crowdfund at the last round. We are a consumer business building a disruptive brand so felt the crowd could help us achieve our goals.
What part of DeadHappy’s journey are you most proud of?
Probably our rapid growth in a sector that is littered with well-intended failures. That combined with the extraordinarily supportive and progressive culture in the business which is the foundation of our success.
What are your future plans for DeadHappy?
Nothing short of a global phenomenon that changes the whole of the life insurance industry. Our mission is to think customer first and create products that actually meet their needs while helping change attitudes towards death so more people are comfortable thinking about, talking about it and planning for death.
When you’re not working, what do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy sports, but I’m only active on the tennis court or golf course. I’m a very passionate rugby fan too. I like nothing more than to relax and find a good book too.
If you weren’t building DeadHappy, what would you be doing?
Probably still have a portfolio of Non Exec/Chair roles supporting other businesses to grow.
If you could go back in time, is there anything you would’ve done differently throughout your business journey?
Interestingly, possibly not! I have made so many mistakes throughout my business life. Those mistakes have been my most valuable lessons that have helped me become more successful over time, so if I didn’t make them I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I love where I am today!
We love where Deadhappy is today too and we are proud to have supported them for years on their journey to a global takeover! To get behind a company completely transforming an industry for the better, visit the pitch here.