Seattle startup Tomorrow is seeing a surge in activity with its legal will-creating app amid the novel coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 770,000 globally.
The company helps make end-of-life planning easier with technology that lets people create free legal wills and pay for long-term life insurance.
While many startups are struggling with the sudden economic downturn, Tomorrow CEO and founder Dave Hanley said traffic to the app is up more than 200% and customer acquisition costs are falling.
“As everyone is more aware of their mortality and concerned for their children, they are turning up in Tomorrow to get what they need,” Hanley said.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the search phrase “getting a will” on Google Trends increased dramatically since March 8. Last week, The New York Times published a column titled: “Doctors Are Writing Their Wills.”
“I see a lot of people who are home wanting to do something to protect their family,” Hanley said. “The virus is invisible and we’re not sure what to do other than follow what our public health leaders tell us and wash our hands. We also are seeing our own mortality with a greater clarity than perhaps ever in our lives.”
Nearly 60% of Americans don’t have a legal will, according to a study from Brookdale Senior Living.
There are growing number of online estate planning services such as Tomorrow that do not require a lawyer. Tomorrow worked with 52 attorneys to develop its app. The company has more than 400,000 customers.
Hanley founded Tomorrow in 2016 after he lost both of his parents unexpectedly. He wasn’t prepared for the financial and legal processes that followed, and realized that many others probably weren’t, either.
Hanley said Tomorrow can provide a peace of mind — for parents and their children.
“It would have been strange to think of saying this in December, but now is the time to give our children not just placating words, but actual plans,” said Hanley, who is a father.
The 19-person company is looking to expand, hiring both marketers and engineers.
Tomorrow has raised $4.2 million from investors including Sinai Ventures; Aflac Corporate Ventures; Allianz Ventures; Maschmeyer Group Ventures; Plug and Play; and Flying Fish Ventures.
Hanley’s previous startup, Shelfari, was acquired by Amazon in 2009. He then sold social media consultancy Banyan Branch to Deloitte Digital in 2013, where he stayed for nearly three years before co-founding Tomorrow.
His three Tomorrow co-founders include former Creditnet President Josh Heckathorn; startup veteran Erik Berg; and ex-Starbucks mobile engineering leader Wayne Rambo, who is now at Nike.
Source: Geek Wire