Rikard Steiber says he started GoodTrust after his friends fell victim to COVID-19 and he saw just how hard it is for families to take control of their digital assets and memorialize them on social media. When people die today, they don’t leave behind shoeboxes of pictures. It’s a new problem of our new digital lives, waiting for a new solution. Just as we leave instructions for worship and burial, so we must now account for the vast online inventory that can be built in a lifetime.
Steiber says a private survey commissioned by the company showed 90% of U.S. adults responded that they do not know what happens to their digital assets (emails, photos, social media, online banking, sites/passwords) when they pass away. Over 150,000 people die each day. It is a trillion-dollar business. Good Trust is part of a wave of solutions emerging to address our “digital remains.” A recent study predicts that some 250 million people will die on Facebook in the next 20 years or more than 30,000 people per day.
“Death, wealth and possessions are as old as humanity,” said Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist, Digital Transformation and Strategy at Google. “Our digital life is a younger concept. And the digital assets there are even more valuable for your loved ones — your photos, your videos, your friendships, your story, your dreams, your accomplishments. Your entire life story in digital form.”
Steiber, a former Google and HTC Vive VR executive, says his start-up uses innovative technology and in-house experts to memorialize social media accounts, secure valuable photos, and videos, photos on Google Drive, and on iCloud. GoodTrust is compatible with more than 100 of the most popular sites and apps, including Facebook, Google, and Apple.
GoodTrust plans start at $39.99, and their menu of services is extensive. Facebook memorializations are initially offered at no cost to first responders and their families. “COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that we are never prepared for death and managing the digital presence of a loved one should be top of mind. Our mission at GoodTrust is to protect the digital legacy of everyone using new scalable technology,” said Steiber, who is bootstrapping the company with eight others contributing sweat equity.
The GoodTrust founding team also includes serial entrepreneur CTO Markus Thorsveldt, COO Olivia Gorajewski, CFO Christian Lagerling and other ex-Googlers like Scott Levitan, Daniel Sieberg and advisors currently at Google such as Gopi Kallayil Chief Evangelist, Digital Transformation and Strategy and Tony Fagan VP of Ads Research Engineering.