Will-writing startup Farewill raises £20m to tackle funeral poverty

By Robert Scammell

Farewill, a startup that provides a digital platform for will writing and probate services, has raised £20m in its latest funding round to expand the business.

Launched in 2015, Farewill is aiming to disrupt an industry that has not changed much in 150 years. Its platform strips out legal jargon and aims to simplify the process for death-related services.

Where traditional probate services take a cut of an estate’s value, Farewill offers a fixed cost fee starting at £595. Its will service starts from £90 – measures the startup says can help tackle funeral poverty that disproportionately affects those on the lowest income.

Venture capital firm Highland Europe, investing for the first time, led the funding round. Keen Ventures, Broadhaven Ventures and Ventures Founders, alongside Headspace CEO Richard Pierson, also became first-time investors in the UK firm.

Previous backers Augmentum Fintech, Kindred Capital and TransferWise CEO Taavet Hinrikus also participated in the round.

The investment brings Farewill’s total funding raised so far to £30m after the startup closed a Series A round in January 2019.

“Dealing with death is one of the hardest parts of life, and we started Farewill to take some of the pain out of the process,” said Farewill CEO Dan Garrett, who founded the company with Tom Rogers after coming up with the idea for his MA final project in Global Innovation Design at the Royal College of Art.

“The latest investment from Highland Europe shows their conviction in our vision for fairer, more transparent services in this space. It means we can build on what we’ve started, growing our world-class team and designing easy-to-use tools that help people during incredibly tough times.

“We’ll also carry on raising millions in pledged legacy income for the third sector, and we’re aiming to get to £1 billion by 2023. There’s a real need for change in this industry and we’re really proud to be leading it.”

In the five years since its launch, Farewill has become responsible for one in 10 wills in the UK – making it the largest will writer in the country.

In addition to will writing, which Farewill says can take just 15 minutes, the startup now offers direct cremations via its platform starting from £980. The average cremation in the UK costs £3,250.

Tim Levene, CEO of Augmentum Fintech, said:

“Farewill has made phenomenal progress since our initial investment 18 months ago. They have grown by 10x and launched a suite of successful new products. This additional capital will provide further opportunity for the company to innovate an archaic industry, and become the leading digital platform in death services.”

Read more: Why now is a perfect opportunity to source funding for your tech startup


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