I met the two founders of MemoryStoria at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England, last spring. Their start-up company was so new at the time that they didn’t yet have a product ready for announcement. However, they told me of their plans and I must say their future sounded bright.
Ryan and George recently sent an email to me saying, “We spent the summer developing the features and now the platform is live (and free to use). A selection of public stories are available on our home page. The end result of a user’s storytelling journey is a digital book that can be shared online with friends and family.” They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development. The following press release explains their plans in some detail as does the MemoryStoria web site at https://www.memorystoria.com:
MemoryStoria’s digital book preserves your life stories for future generations. Its Christmas campaign is putting to a test the self-centered culture of Kickstarter crowdfunding.
November 27, 2015
George and Ryan got together in 2014 to work on a dream. They wanted to create a world where no one is ever forgotten. This is how one of London’s socially-responsible startups was born, as a collaboration between a Bulgarian and a Scot. They called it MemoryStoria, to remind people of “memories of stories”, or as a gentle encouragement to “store your memories”.
MemoryStoria is an online platform on which people record their life stories and turn them into a digital book. The book can be shared online with loved ones but the sharing phase does not come only at the end. The platform encourages friends and family to work together to record their stories, especially to help the older generation who may lack the technology skills to do it alone. Children and grandchildren often interview and record their parents and grandparents. What could be better than 30 stories from your grandma that you’ve never heard before?
Memoirs publishing is an iceberg. The rich and famous get paid to publish their memoirs. Those who are just rich sometimes pay a ghostwriter to help them record and edit their life stories and print them in a bound book. All others eventually disappear from this world with most of their stories untold, just like the bottom of the iceberg hidden from view under the surface of the icy ocean.
But this was the past. George and Ryan are now turning the iceberg upside down. MemoryStoria allows everybody to record their stories in text and photos on http://www.memorystoria.com and to publish them in a digital book – all this for free. The digital book makes all the difference compared with a generic storytelling blog. A digital book with your life’s stories is a fireproof safe that would not burn down if your house caught fire. And even more, it is a very personal and emotional present, both for yourself and for your loved ones.
George and Ryan are now putting the finishing touches to MemoryStoria with the help of a pre-Christmas campaign on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/memorystoria/memorystoria-create-a-digital-book-of-your-life-st). They are raising funding for two things: 1) To finish the features that would allow audio and video to go into the digital book; 2) To hire editors who will support those users for strive for perfection and for whom the do-it-yourself free platform is not enough.
A fundraising campaign is always a testing time for any startup, but MemoryStoria is also putting Kickstarter to a test. The tech-savvy young generation is very active on this platforms but they usually pledge money for projects that will benefit themselves – whether a new gadget or a sixpack of beers from a new micro-brewery. MemoryStoria is asking that this time they pledge for the sake of their parents and grandparents. Would this appeal make a difference in the weeks before Christmas?
George Iliev is a London-based entrepreneur. He studied social anthropology at the London School of Economics and became fascinated with storytelling after living in China, Hong Kong, Latin America and the southern USA. George competes in orienteering races and writes limericks.
Ryan Cormack is a software engineer who studied at the University of Dundee. He has a background in genealogy and family history, having worked at FindMyPast and DC Thomson Family History. Ryan is a professional photographer and a budding rock climber.
MemoryStoria Ltd is a social enterprise registered in London. The online publishing platform http://www.memorystoria.com allows users to record their life stories and turn them into a digital book. The platform works in all major languages. All stories are recorded as private by default but the authors can choose to make them public. The digital book can be shared privately with friends and family. MemoryStoria won a place on the European Union’s “future of the Internet” programme Fiware in January 2015. MemoryStoria is creating a world where no one is ever forgotten.
George and Ryan and me at the 2015 Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England