The digital solution was the brainchild of Ian Dibb, who founded the company after experiencing the personal losses of his mum and sister: “Neither of them had let any of the family know what they would like to happen in the event of their deaths. Making difficult decisions on their behalf at an emotional time was really tough and my aim in founding the company was to make things easier for other people.”
ATI have been working collaboratively with Ian for a number of years now, and longstanding innovation journeys like these are the life and soul of our programme. To date, ATI has assisted with two pivotal innovation projects that have helped to drive the business forward. Ian explains the impact the programme has had so far:
“Had ATI not existed, we would certainly be much further back along our roadmap in terms of our partnerships and number of users on the platform. ATI1 enabled us to develop a partner portal and off the back of that we now have 67 companies signed up to use Once I’ve Gone with their clients. More recently the team has been able to engage with the ATI programme to support the creation of additional platform features, this has enabled us to talk to larger clients about future enhancements which has provided further credibility amongst some of the more established international players”.
In the early stages, ATI Business Innovation Advisor, Mike Robertson, hosted a number of strategy meetings and workshops to help Once I’ve Gone identify, and prioritise, the best projects to take forward.
“When you’re trying to run a start-up and you’re already being pulled in a million different directions, actually having someone to guide you through a process is fantastic and that was one of the real benefits of working with ATI2″, says Ian.
In line with the key objectives of the business, it became clear that the security of the platform would be fundamental to attracting new users, partners and investors. For this reason, ATI2 awarded Once I’ve Gone with a grant to further enhance the security levels of the platform, whilst paving the way for organisations to link directly to the platform in the future.
“Once I’ve Gone is a business based on securing client information. We are constantly looking to evolve and improve the functionality of the platform, providing higher levels of partner and client interaction and increasing the value proposition”, Ian explains.
“We are constantly trying to make sure that people feel comfortable adding information to our platform and the recent features under development will be focused on giving people far greater peace of mind over the security of their data”, he adds.
As a small but growing digital start-up, Ian highlights the true value of the grant and how it has accelerated the businesses ability to innovate:
“The funding has enabled us to speed up the production of key features and scale far quicker than we would have done otherwise. We are a start-up and need to carefully manage our finances, and there would have been a longer delay in being able to achieve our goals. By having the financial support of ATI2 we are actually ahead of where we wanted to be in our development”.
In addition to the funding support, Once I’ve gone have benefited from access to ATI2’s extensive knowledge exchange network and this is something that will continue to support the business to do great things in the future, says Ian:
“The access to the knowledge base is incredible. As we grow as an organisation we are constantly going to maintain our head office in Cornwall, so any access to knowledge and any assistance with applying for finance or grants is huge for the company and enables us to achieve things that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to”.
When we can, ATI2 like to connect clients where there is synergy and potential for collaboration. In the case of Once I’ve Gone, Ian’s Business Innovation Advisor, Mike, was able to introduce him to another innovator who was embarking upon a similar journey to him. “One of the things about being based in the South West is that you kind of feel isolated from knowledge. It’s not like setting up a business in London, where there are countless organisations always within a stone’s throw away” highlights Ian, who sees a lot of potential in partnering with like-minded businesses within the South West.
“It’s the ability to share journeys with people, to develop and be part of a network in the South West – we can really help one another.
“Working with ATI2 has been a fantastic experience… the support we have received has been fantastic, not only the regular phone calls but the face-to-face meetings [before the Covid-19 pandemic] and the zoom meetings during this second phase of the project too. It’s been faultless from start to finish” says Ian.
Once I’ve Gone has been a labour of love and years in the making, but perseverance pays off and Ian’s hard work is finally coming to fruition. As is often the case with online digital platforms, Once I’ve Gone is constantly evolving and ATI2 are continuing to support Ian’s journey by providing ongoing business innovation advice, helping him to focus his ideas and identify the next area of innovation for his business. We cannot wait to see what’s next.
Once I’ve Gone Co-Founders, Sarah Wilkinson and Ian Dibb, at their offices in Charlestown.