Colin Culross, Founder and CEO of Emortal: Ensuring Digital Memories Are Saved For Generations

Our idea is very simple: save the story of our lives together as a family, forever pass on what matters to our kids, and their kids, across the generations. Because when families lose their memories, they lose the foundations of who they are.

Our digital lives lie scattered across multiple devices, social media sites and clouds. We no longer control or own the rights to our content, Worse still, as the progress of technology leaves old file formats behind our digital memories are at serious risk of disappearing forever.

The key question we’ve been asking ourselves is: How do you playback your digital memories in, say 50 to 100 years’ time, when the devices, the operating system and the software used to record your memories just isn’t available anymore?

Over time, Emortal builds into a permanent digital legacy of your lives together, that generations can enjoy forever.

Every memory, remembered forever. Every story told for all time. Your Life. Saved.

We have so far secured more than £1.5 million through our equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. This funding round, which originally sought to raise £1 million, has already attracted over 500 Crowdcube investors and we are now looking to hit £3 million before the end of the raise.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

My very first job, when I was a young man, was as a fireman in London, and I can tell you one thing, fact; the minute the fire was out, and the minute we got people out of the house and saved their life, we had to hold onto them to stop them going back in to try and get their memories. Their pictures, their stories.

So, even though I didn’t realise it then, I knew that memories were important. I’m a human being; my memories matter to me. I love nothing more than spending time with my family, remembering the good old days. And we all do. Move on a little bit in time – I’m now a dad, a parent. Life changes a lot then, and your value system changes as well. Then my youngest daughter, Jools, was diagnosed with cancer… that’s got to be one of the most frightening things that’s ever going to face me in my life.

We had a 5-year battle to save her life, and she is around today – she is everything that a teenager is but, during that time, the thought of losing her was just terrifying. I thought about saving her memory, I thought about just saving her story so that, god forbid we lose her, it will always be there.

And that’s why I founded Emortal – “Your life. Saved.”

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

Because we have been building towards our Crowdcube fundraise for most of the pandemic, internally Emortal has not changed significantly.

However, the world around has changed almost beyond all recognition. Britain, for one, has seen a surge in community spirit in response to the pandemic, a sense of one-ness and family abounds – more people are more concerned about others than are concerned about their own situation, with worries about families’ health and the broader economy more widespread than for individual circumstances.

At the same time an increase in concern for health – both our own and others – has been clearly observed. We are now more conscious of our own mortality than at any time in living memory.

When you combine togetherness and the awareness of our own mortality then you concisely describe the Emortal proposition – there has never been a greater need for the services we offer.

What can we hope to see from Emortal in the future?

The very essence of Emortal is the future – saving digital legacies from oblivion. In the long term we have built a commercial model which ensures that, when more of our users are dead than alive, when fewer users are paying for the service than using it, we can still ensure that the ever-growing databank of memories is emortlalised forever. We call this the Emortal Digital Legacy Fund.

In the medium term, we see Emortal joining families with the depth of their shared memories, reaching out across countries and nations and building stronger social ties than have ever existed before. Far more personal and private than you get today, but far more extensive than you could forge yesterday. Emortal will ensure that families share their files, their memories and their lives in the future.

In the short term, we have some very exciting new features coming out towards the end of 2021, not least the Family Tree and VideoMe Booth, that are both quite self-explanatory in their titles, but more details to follow soon.