The pandemic brought home the fragility of life to many, and while death is not a topic most people want to talk about, Don Culloty, founder of emotional legacy planning company Klokbox, believes that by not doing so we are missing out on preserving the memories, stories and life histories of family members for future generations.
Klokbox is a cloud-based storage platform where users create an encrypted memory box (called a time capsule) and fill it with the photos, video clips and messages of personal significance they want to leave behind for family and friends for after they die. At a practical level the box can also be used to store important items such as a person’s will, their digital passwords and their funeral plan if they have one.
Signing up to create a time capsule is a one-step process and items can be added and edited at any time. The user can appoint one or two keyholders who are authorised to release the box when they die, and a Klokbox remains completely private until it is shared according to the user’s wishes. Boxes are created with a recipient’s phone number attached so when the release of the box is triggered, the recipient is notified and can click on to what is effectively a memory wall to bring up the content. Klokbox’s basic plan is free to use and provides 2GB of storage. Thereafter there are various storage plans and a minimum annual purchase of $10 to keep the box alive.
“Legacy planning brings up such negative emotions that 72 per cent of people totally avoid the subject completely and almost 100 per cent ignore the emotional part of losing someone. Solutions are mostly lawyer-led as it’s seen mainly as a financial issue,” Culloty says.
“What we have developed is a sort of Facebook for eternity that allows people to create a family tree and upload stories, photos, videos and documents and store them. It’s a way of keeping loved ones close and passing on the things — kind thoughts, advice, encouragement, inspiration — that will be needed by family members as they move forward without this person in their lives any more.
“I’ve experienced the consequences of a sudden death personally and it’s a real pain point,” Culloty adds. “My dad dying suddenly left a big hole in my life and the pain of losing him was compounded by unfinished business and unanswered questions around what he would have wanted, and family members all had their own views on that. Had he made a will and stored it somewhere safe, that would have helped clear up a lot of confusion and provided peace of mind for the whole family after his sudden departure. With a Klokbox a person can make their intentions clearly known and protect their family from unnecessary arguments and legal costs after their death. I would love to have been left a time capsule by my dad with a video or an audio message. It would have been a huge surprise and we could have heard his laughter and inspiring voice once again.”
Culloty is an accountant by profession who is based in Kerry where he operates a number of hospitality businesses. The idea for Klokbox had been kicking around in his head for a number of years but it took root during the Covid lockdowns and pivoted from being a “cold” wills-based product to a “warmer” product that focuses on emotional ties and memories.
Klokbox was soft-launched earlier this year and investment to date has been roughly €130,000, with just over €50,000 in support from Kerry LEO and Enterprise Ireland through the New Frontiers programme. In October, Klokbox will launch a fundraising round on the crowdfunding platform Seedrs, to raise its profile and about €100,000 to start building user numbers.