Our social digital footprint poses a fascinating question. What do you do - or more importantly, what do your family and loved ones do - with your social digital footprint after you have died? Gone are the days of the dusty photo album; most of us will be on our 6th generation mobile phone by now, each device full of memories, videos and photos running into the tens of thousands.  What will you do with all of those memories?

Throughout history, human beings have used all manner of things to retain an emotional connection to deceased loved ones. Today, our digital social footprint will be no different, providing a critical resource for preserving and cherishing a loved one’s memory. Digital start-up Forever Mortal has identified an opportunity to support people grappling with this challenge. It has created a platform whereby loved ones can be remembered respectfully, with their online legacies protected and managed well into the future. 

Forever Mortal has been supported through Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.


Here, founder Ian Brewer explains the ideas behind Forever Mortal and shares his experience growing his business with support from the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.



Tell us about Forever Mortal
As an award-winning Innovator with a curious mind, I love exploring new ideas and finding new solutions for new challenges. This idea had been floating around in my head for some time, but it wasn’t until I had a very nasty car accident – when I thought “This is it I am going to die” – that it came into being. In the ambulance I started reflecting on what would have happened if the worst had happened. How would I be remembered and what kind of mess would I leave behind for my family to deal with? It was at that moment Forever Mortal was born.

Here at Forever Mortal, we've created a private social data platform which allows families, friends, and future generations to interact with, remember and learn from people long after they've gone in ways never seen before.

Think of it as a fusion between Facebook and Ancestry.com.  

While it is early days for us, we are already a team of eight like-minded individuals. When we joined the Business Wales AGP, we were an ambitious start-up with no employees. We have come a long way in a very short time! And based on our traction to date there are exciting times ahead for us, no doubt about it.

We have found Business Wales AGP invaluable, especially the fully-funded support of many business specialists which has helped us plant the seeds for success.


What are your proudest moments in business so far?
Forever Mortal has been incubated in Welsh ICE and Tramshed Tech, which have both given us great support. We are currently taking part in the Nat West Accelerator, and following a rigorous process we have been accepted onto the prestigious EWOR accelerator. EWOR is backed by entrepreneurs in Germany who have founded multi-billion-pound companies and are looking to invest in social enterprises that could make an impact on the global stage. We are incredibly proud that Forever Mortal has been recognised in having this potential.

We have also developed a strategic alliance with the fantastic Life Sciences Hub Wales who commissioned a report into how digital twin avatars could help with the grieving process. They were a bit sceptical at first, with us proposing an idea straight out of the science fiction series Black Mirror. It was great when the final report made clear the many benefits our approach could bring to grieving loved ones.


My other proudest achievement is starting a new venture with nothing other than the idea in my head to now having a working minimal viable product ready to launch. I truly believe you can do anything if you put your mind to it and believe in your idea.

People are already sitting up and noticing what we're doing. We have secured a distribution partnership with one of the largest players in the UK funeral sector and have interest from potential partners in the USA which is great news! But then again everyone we talk to has a vested interest in some way and can relate to what we are doing when it comes to losing a loved one.


What challenges have you faced in business
For me it was starting with nothing – and going from a one-person vision to a team of eight who are now executing that vision.


We also struggled in the early stages to clearly define the problem we were trying to solve and communicate this in a way that made the penny drop. Our message is that social data – that is, our cherished memories - will be lost to future generations if we don’t do anything about it. We've had to understand and deal with the sensitivity surrounding death and dying. And we've had to understand the risks and benefits associated with preserving a digital legacy and provide the solution to democratise this for everyone.

They remain issues we must be constantly mindful of. This is certainly not a space where we can become complacent, especially when it comes to preserving our digital social footprint which currently you do not own once committed to social platforms. Our aim is to provide a safe, secure place where the legal ownership of your digital footprint is given to you and your family.


If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
I don’t think we would do anything differently as I have been so lucky in securing the right team and everything is happening so quickly. Every day this venture surprises me, confirming my belief that this business is going to scale very quickly. Early testing has revealed that.


How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
Business Wales AGP has been invaluable to us. As a start-up, we've accessed as much help and external expertise as possible. I think that's an essential thing for a new business to do. So, search out the help, seek out the support. There's plenty out there for you if you knock on enough doors.

The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme has been there for us, providing us with vital support and funding I might have started other businesses in the past, but that doesn't mean potential help should be ignored.

The support from AGP has ranged from brand development and website design to strategic finance, getting pitches and communications clear and IT.

You cannot overestimate how much external expertise can boost your development in your company's early days. We are very grateful we've accessed this support through our fantastic Relationship manager Howard Jones.


What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

  • Clarify exactly what your offering is and USP are.
  • Do a lot of testing – test your assumptions are going to work.
  • Share these with potential investors, partners and stakeholders in a simple, short and straightforward way.
  • Don't be afraid to contact people and ask them to support you.
  • Take advantage of any support/help/information available from the Welsh Government and other agencies.


To learn more about Forever Mortal, visit here.

Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme

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The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

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