One of the most unsettling shows I’ve ever watched is Hoarders. Each episode is a journey into a condemned living space, choked with unnecessary trinkets and papers. The show is personal for me, as my aunt was a hoarder. After she died, while piecing together her financial life was a painstaking archeological affair, it revealed the singular advantage of hoarding: every piece of information we needed was in her townhome.
Most of her peers in the boomer generation keep important documents in safety deposit boxes at the local bank or in a locked file cabinet at home. These locations are typically one-stop shops for families and advisors to get important information like wills and trusts, legal agreements, health records, property and financial holdings, and other vital documents.
Younger generations are different. Information is scattered across online drives, email accounts, and devices, inventoried only in their own minds. In the US, there are an average of 130 accounts assigned to every email address, and consumers have more financial relationships than ever before.
We store our most vital information in myriad locations, so when we need critical documents for business ventures, estate planning, or other life events, we often struggle to find it. This digital information is difficult to collect, and, unlike the safety deposit box, is inaccessible to others, complicating the task when family, partners, and advisors need the documents urgently.
The need for a new solution
New apartment? Get renters insurance on Lemonade. Get married? Register on Zola. Taxes? TurboTax. The instinct and preference of anyone under 50 is to find an app, not a human service provider, and certainly not to print out documents to shove into the cramped drawer 673b at the local savings and loan that is closed on Sundays.
This digital shift has been underway for several decades, yet there is no dominant solution for secure organization and legacy planning. Situations that would precipitate the need for these documents previously may have felt far-off. But COVID-19 has forced everyone, including younger people like teachers, nurses, and grocery store workers, to contemplate “getting their affairs in order.”
The need is beyond generational. Most consumers have figured out how to automate the preparation of taxes, yet only 42% of US adults have created a will or living will. And far fewer have a centralized inventory of their most important contacts, documents, and locations where critical information and memories are stored.
Origin’s Investment in Prisidio
I was lucky to have worked with Glenn Shimkus and Paul Koziarz when I led an investment into their prior company, Cartavi. Glenn and Paul are world-class document management experts. After Cartavi was acquired by Docusign, I knew they couldn’t resist starting another company down the road.
That company is Prisidio, a B2C Software company that provides intelligent assistance to guide people through the process of identifying, documenting, and managing their physical and digital assets and documents, then keeping them up to date. Prisidio also provides templates and shortcuts: the automation that younger generations have come to expect. In addition, it keeps track of important contacts and has been built from the ground up to be secure and private. The platform gets people’s lives organized and affairs in order for retirement, business ventures, estate planning, or any unforeseen life events.
Origin Ventures’ Digital Native thesis posits that Digital Native generations work, live, and play differently. We believe that these generations will prepare (and help their parents prepare) their affairs differently too. When Glenn initially shared the idea behind Prisidio, it was clear to us that the space was ripe for change:
- Younger generations were going to demand a digital solution
- The market is underpenetrated (low % of US adults are prepared)
- There is no dominant consumer brand in the space
- COVID-19 would be a catalyst of awareness
- The team is world-class
It’s for these reasons that we chose to co-lead Prisidio’s first investment round.
We look forward to being reunited with Glenn and Paul, building this important company together.