Life Is A Story, Tell It With Seattle Startup Jumyo

jumyo,Seattle startup,startup interviewEveryday millions of people around the globe are using their smartphones, cameras, and apps to tell stories. They’re telling stories through pictures, video and of course text. Seattle startup Jumyo is helping people connect the dots and tell the stories of their lives through their social community and their iPhone app.

There are a few startups out there that are addressing the issue “if pictures could talk” by simply adding voice clips to photos sent to social networks. Jumyo knows that there is more to a story than just the picture, with or without context. Perhaps you’re at your daughters birthday party. Maybe you’re on a vacation to Mexico. What happened before these key events, what happened after? How did you get there in the first place. These are all questions that can be answered when the story is woven together.

As we put more and more pictures and videos on our phone, the ability to recall each event gets harder and harder. I travel all the time. When I visit a city I’ve been to before I often try new places but also go back to the places I really like. So at the end of the day (well actually at the end of several months) when I comb through Facebook albums, Google Plus instant upload albums and iPhoto I find pictures from the same places at different times. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why in the world I took some random photos, or videos, which at the time probably weren’t random at all.

Hopefully Jumyo can solve that problem for me and for you.

We got a chance to talk with Joe Egan, co-founder and CEO at Jumyo. Check out the interview below.


What is Jumyo?

Jumyo is a social community built around the stories that make up our lives. These stories are based on experiences, the people we shared our time with, as well as the contemporaneous context of what else was happening at the location.

Initially being released for the iPhone, enables people to create and collaborate their stories by taking pictures, interlacing text and eventually video, connecting them together as it happens. People that join our stories can immediately start contributing and collaborating to add a level of context that has never existed before. These stories can be public or private and they can run the spectrum from personal diversion to current affairs and world events.

Jumyo is enabling people to connect in a new, deeper way. Building on what people have been doing since the beginning of time… storytelling.

In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)

To make it very simple, image yourself at a family reunion that takes place over a couple of days. When you arrive you can create a story on your phone and start taking picture, adding text or both. Your other family members can see that you have started this story on their phones and can immediately start contributing to this story. Even family members you have never met before can contributing, documenting everything from their perspective.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

The team has extensive startup experience with this being the second start-up Joe and Ryan have worked on together. The former being SynapticMash, which was acquired by Promethean in 2010.

Joe Egan: Co-founder and CEO – Joe has been a leader in the technology industry for both the private and public sectors as COOand CIO. During Joe’s tenure at the start-up SynapticMash, he headed up sales and implementation for the organization.

Ryan Vanderpol: Co-founder and CTO – Serial Entrepreneur, Ryan Vanderpol is an experienced software engineer and leader. Ryan has touched all facets of technology during his career, giving him the background and knowledge to architect a scalable solution for Jumyo.

Where are you based?

In the beautiful City of Seattle

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

Seattle is truly an amazing city from the culture to the people. It is really a place that is encouraging start-ups to get off the ground and be successful. Through organizations like Surf Incubators to our own shared office space like Agnes Underground, there are constantly groups being put together to help foster networking and knowledge transfer. We wouldn’t want to be in any other city.

How did you come up with the idea for Jumyo?

Jumyo formed around the basic concept of collaborative storytelling, getting people to creatively write together. The challenge the concept faced was to create something based around traditional writing it would be accepting the fact that the user based would be relatively small and monetization would have been extremely challenging. The focus then shifted to create something more fun and easy to use but still having roots in the concept of storytelling. Thus our focus with Jumyo has been to create something with strong social connection that also uses imagery and short text making it quick and simple to use.

How did you come up with the name?

Jumyo, meaning life span or longevity

What problem does Jumyo solve?

Our world creates hundreds of billions of disconnected images and thoughts each year. We use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and email to share isolated moments. With all of these applications, there exists very limited context about these moments that make up our stories. While existing solutions allow us to understand certain attributes of the images that we create and share, such as the creator, the subject and the date, there’s very little ability to interlace these moments with the story that forms to bind them to our lives. Really in this so called “hyper socially connected world”, the social meaning is limited.

Hyper-growth applications, such as Pinterest and Instagram, have grown with unprecedented speed due to their ease in allowing people to express themselves, feel creative and share interests. The social aspect and personal interaction is limited to disconnected commentary feeds and the binary and diminishing act of “liking” something.

When an individual has hundreds, or even thousands of disconnected images, It becomes extremely difficult and often impossible to look back upon them in any complete or organized way. When we find that amazing picture of our kids playing or a fantastic journey, how do we relive the story that accompanied the image?

What’s your secret sauce?

The sauce is a secret but it is a combination of one part tech, one part marketing and two parts passion.

Are you bootstrapped or funded?

We currently are bootstrapped with Friends and Family investing as well. Ideally looking at an angel round early 2013.

What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?

The biggest challenge is being creative with the limited amount of resources you have.

Who are some of your mentors and business role models?

Richard Branson.. truly an innovative man that has been willing to step into a multitude of industries and do extremely well.

Jeff Bezos.. really amazing leader that took selling books and turned it into a company that is revolutionizing the store front but technology as well

Hayao Miyazaki – one of the best story tellers and animators ever.

What’s next for Jumyo?

Getting crazy big


Check out Jumyo here

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