Dying in the digital age is tricky, as the dozens of accounts and services someone used while alive persist in cyberspace. We’ve all heard the stories of Facebook and Twitter users haunted by recommendations they they connect with dead friends.
LifeEnsured, a New York startup with a $150,000 in angel funding (different kind of angel), is focused on carrying out the last rites and rituals a person might need to clean up the stray threads of their virtual life.
For example, LifeEnsured will scatter your digital photographs to the wind, taking images from a Flickr account and transferring them to Creative Commons. They can turn off dating profiles and leave a final status update on social networks. PayPal accounts get routed to the next of kin.
The company recently ran a big study on what most Americans want to happen to their digital presence when they’re gone. They learned that around 40% of people have no idea, and also, people really don’t want to be made in a DVD. They would prefer to share a final message by email or video, and if they still haven’t told that special someone that how they felt all along, leave a final bold blog post declaring their love.
Founder Mike Aiello got the idea while working in the life settlement business, buying up other people’s insurance policies, paying the premiums and collecting the benefits when they died. Checking up on folks to see if they had kicked the bucket put him in touch with a lot of unfinished business online.
The mortality rates on startups isn’t so hot, but not to worry, a portion of all revenues goes into a irrevocable trust fund to ensure users final wishes are carried out for some time.