Startup of the Week: Life Insurance For Millennials Who Want to Die

Deadhappy wants to make dying fun.
Ashwin Rodrigues
Brooklyn, US
Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 9
Image: Deadhappy / Composition: Jason Koebler

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The Pitch

Life insurance is a boring business, but does it need to be less boring? Deadhappy, a life insurance startup based in the UK, is betting the answer is yes, and it thinks that one way to do it is by making a #FuneralFails board on Pinterest.

Founded by Andy Knott and Phil Zeidler in 2013, Deadhappy offers “super cheap, super easy and also super flexible” life insurance. Deadhappy calculates risk based on the participant’s current age, as opposed to the traditional calculation of risk across decades, allowing the company to charge a lower monthly fee. The company also offers a neat option and product differentiator: the deathwish.


As explained on its website, via a recording featuring a Drake track and uploaded on Soundcloud: “At Deadhappy, we like to think about the bit after death [several airhorn blasts] tell us what you want to happen when you die.” You can direct Deadhappy to do specific things with your payout, such as paying off your mortgage, or “getting a life-size bronze statue of yourself…naked.” Your loved ones can mourn the loss of the biggest idiot in the world, in perpetuity.

The thought here is that you can create a bunch of different wishes: Send your partner on a vacation, buy a Playstation for your nephew, make sure your friends can afford an Uber Pool to your funeral, and so-on and so-forth. The company suggests you can make very outlandish requests such as the aforementioned statue situation, or, like this promo video suggests, you can ask the company to turn your body into a drug-filled piñata:

Deadhappy aims to make life insurance—and death—more fun, startuppy, and millennial-friendly, lest the generation be charged with murdering another industry. Deadhappy claims you can sign up for a policy in less than three minutes. Policies are sold in 10-year increments, though earlier versions of the site promised even shorter one-year plans, for millennials who want to microdose their life insurance or intend to die very very soon. Company employees are listed in an aggressively casual manner: first name only, no title, and a quirky bio. This is not your pop-pop’s life insurance company.


The company has a legitimately sick logo of a skull cackling to the heavens, and fun blog posts like, “Would Jesus Qualify for Health Insurance?” (The answer: Yes, but it is unclear if he would get a payout) and “3 badasses of history who survived bad assassination attempts.”

You’re less likely to die when you’re younger, Deadhappy says, so you should pay less. The company currently only offers life insurance for individuals, not families, which makes sense given the clear millennial appeal of the product (we will all die alone, because we were too busy killing the golf and diamond industries to bring life into the world.) The company has a fun logo and a not-so-great grasp on the meaning of “deathwish.” The only certainty is that you will be dead at the moment you’ve trusted Deadhappy to do anything with your money. Do you need to know more? What are you, a cop?

What problem does it solve?

Deadhappy solves the total snoozefest of life insurance.

The Deadhappy FAQ is a mix of bullshit to signal it is in fact Cool and With It, interspersed with legitimate answers to legitimate questions. For example, when addressing if suicide is covered by Deadhappy, the answer is yes, but only if the policy is more than 12 months old. The A to this Q is more detailed and lacks the fun tone of others, but it used to read “I’m a bit suicidal, will you still cover me?” The FAQ makes one thing clear: this product is not for nerds. If you’re interested in nerd shit such as “how much life insurance should I buy?,” go get one of those Snoopy life insurance policies. Deadhappy all but says this in one of its FAQ responses: “If you’re the type who needs to know everything exact, then we would suggest our product is probably not for you.”


If you look at the fine print, though, you'll see that deathwishes aren't actually, uhh, real: "In reality, what will happen is that your legal next of kin will receive a lump sum of your total payout and it’s up to them to decide how it is used." So, it's like … life insurance. Boring, boring life insurance.

Who is giving it money?

Octopus Ventures, a London-based fund, led Deadhappy’s £1.5m seed investment in 2013. Octopus Ventures also co-led Deadhappy’s £4M Series A raise with, a San Francisco based VC firm, in September 2019. Also, people who want to make deathwishes.

What are The Experts saying?

“Currently the Deathwish platform offers financially motivated Deathwishes, but the longer-term plan is to enable practical Deathwishes, such as making sure your funeral is the way you want it, and what Zeidler calls emotionally motivated Deathwishes.” - [TechCrunch ](“The language used by DeadHappy is fun but frank. For some, this may be unpalatable, due to the subject. For contracts where cover is only needed for 10 years it has obvious appeal.” -Financial Adviser

“A number of protection insurance specialists contacted by The Mail on Sunday say the new insurer's proposition is riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese.” -The Daily Mail

They shouldn’t even call it insurance, they should just call it in case-shit. I give a company some money in case shit happen. If shit don’t happen, shouldn’t I get my money back?”

Chris Rock, Bigger & Blacker (1999)

Should you get it?

If for some reason, you’re legally required to get a tattoo of your life insurance provider, there is no better option than Deadhappy. The company has way cooler logo than any provider out there, albeit one more suited for an energy drink or pirate flag.

The cool trick about the life insurance industry, like the cheap parachute industry, is that unhappy customers aren’t very vocal. But if you think of signing up for life insurance as cumbersome, lame, and you don’t plan on dying, Deadhappy is a real option. Based on my research, this is the only life insurance company that allows you to make specific, non-monetary requests via the “Deathwish” feature. If you want to give instructions to have your remains cremated and loaded into a t-shirt cannon, to be fired into the courtside seats of your favorite celebrity, this is the only life insurance option.