End of Life Digital Planning Tool wins Innovate UK Award

The UK’s first digital legacy vault, Biscuit Tin, has been successful in winning an Innovate UK award, part of a £40m boost to drive new technological advances, in a recent competition launched in response to the global pandemic. The competition for “business-led innovation in response to global disruption” which was announced among the first raft of government’s responses to the coronavirus crisis in March, has netted the innovative East Lothian based death-tech start-up £49,910 to accelerate the development of their digital solution. The platform has been designed to enable the digital transformation of ‘end-of-life’ planning and life close down for everyone in the UK and paves the way for global transformation. Biscuit Tin, founded by entrepreneur Sheila Hogan following the death of her own parents, meets a very real need for individuals to put in place secure plans for managing their end of life wishes. The global pandemic has brought these needs into sharp and painful focus for tens of thousands of families across the UK who have now lost loved ones to the virus, and who will now be grappling with a great many decisions to make in the wake of their untimely deaths, many without any knowledge of what their loved one would have wanted. Sheila Hogan, commented: “My own difficult experience of having to deal with my parents affairs whilst going through immense grief made me determined to make the whole process easier for other people. My heart absolutely goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one during this pandemic. The whole thing has been absolutely heart-breaking. I founded Biscuit Tin to make the closing down of a loved one’s life a much easier process than the very manual and protracted process it is today and I feel for each and every person who is having to go through this process right now. Winning the award from Innovate UK,  the UK’s innovation agency, will enable us to rapidly speed up our development roadmap, making even more features available more quickly and we’re incredibly grateful to their assistance in helping us deliver the best solution, faster.” Sheila continued: “Our vision for the project is to encourage and support the change needed to the way we all handle the end-of-life planning. The key focus being to remove the barriers and empower, enable and motivate everyone to get organised and put their own affairs and wishes in order. By making our own decisions and planning in advance, storing it all digitally in one place, we will make a world of difference to those we love, eliminating all the unnecessary hassle and stress and providing peace of mind at an emotionally distressing time of loss.” At the start of the pandemic, Biscuit Tin opened up free registration for the service until the end of 2020 for anyone signing up during the pandemic and has already seen a steady rise in registrations over the last ten weeks. During the set-up of a Biscuit Tin account, customers can choose ‘nominees’ to be the executors of their digital vault, allowing access to all their data only when it is needed. The company will be working with Edinburgh based software development and design agency, Bad Dinosaur, to deliver the project and the new features will be in place by the Autumn. Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. Their support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. The competition was launched in record time to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society or industries during and following the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 8600 applications were submitted, the highest number ever for any competition run buy Innovate UK, and 800 projects UK wide, including Biscuit Tin, have been successful in securing an award. Kenny MacAskill, Member of Parliament for East Lothian commented on the announcement of the award: “Sheila has risen to the challenge we all face in these times, despite the tragedy she’s faced in her personal life. She’s used her understanding from coping with her own loss to ensure that others will find comfort. This award is due recognition of the value of her work. It should rightly be celebrated and hopefully many others can now benefit as a result.” For more information please visit: www.biscuittin.co