Meet the Startup: Megilla – online storytelling

Easy to use Megilla platform is fundraising to scale-up its service to help older people share (and preserve) their life stories.

Following on from last month’s Washington Longevity Summit, we caught up with another of the AgeTech start-ups that pitched investors at the event. We spoke to Nathan Firer, founder and CEO of Megilla – an online video storytelling platform- as you’ll read in this interview, he’s a passionate advocate of valuing inter-generational relationships.

Megilla is described as a user-friendly, DIY platform that makes it easy for older adults to record the stories of their lives with videos created in the comfort of their homes.

Longevity.Technology: How did Megilla get started?
Nathan Firer: The long story is my father died way too early and I realized I sadly lacked any substantial videos to share with my children about their grandfather. Photos are great but video is paramount. For years, I’ve been leading storytelling sessions at senior living communities, hearing the amazing stories of older adults and learning the beautiful value of legacy. But I also realised that older adults do not have technology built specifically for them to empower them to easily, autonomously record their life stories and legacies on video. We wanted to solve that problem and create a user-friendly video platform so older adults can easily record their lives for themselves and their families.

Longevity.Technology: What is unique about what you have developed?
Nathan Firer: Questions are the gateway to life’s great stories, so we have a question menu with more than 700 questions, allowing older adults to choose the questions they want to answer. We see it as ‘their story, their way’ – people actively curating their legacies – having fun traveling back in time and storytelling their lives. Megilla also has mental health benefits, including a reduction in feelings of depression and loneliness, in addition to the neurochemical effects storytelling has on the release of oxytocin and dopamine.

Megilla not only offers an easy, affordable tool to build a legacy for future generations, but the easy video-emailing feature helps improve inter-generational social communication, empowering families and friends to engage with each other by sharing and discussing videos.  We’re a start-up and our product roadmap is just getting started — so we’re excited to be adding new features to the site in the next few months, making it even easier and more fun to record short video-stories.

Megilla - what's the bravest thing
Image credit: Megilla

Longevity.Technology: Please describe your commercialisation model/route to market?
Nathan Firer: Megilla will offer affordable, annual individual and family subscription membership plans. For the price of two cups of coffee per month, people can easily tell their life stories with video. Megilla will be the best gift for holidays, birthdays, special occasions, or Tuesday.

Longevity.Technology: Where does the business stand today and what are your growth plans over the next year and beyond?
Nathan Firer: Megilla is an early stage pre-revenue start-up, with hundreds of members currently testing the product as we prep for full market launch. This year we will launch an official marketing campaign, bringing Megilla into senior living communities, religious organizations, veteran affairs organizations, schools, and marketing to every family in America and beyond. We will continue to talk with our current users to learn what we’re doing right and more importantly what we’re doing wrong. We will continue to iterate on the product, refining and building out the product roadmap with additional features we are unstoppably excited to share with the world. Our mission is to build an easy DIY video platform that brings delight, meaning, fun & social connectivity to people everywhere.

Longevity.Technology: What are the main business challenges you face?
Nathan Firer: Like most start-ups, needing more capital is our most current challenge. With more capital, we plan to build and market faster and augment a larger, dynamic team to bring Megilla into 2020 with speed, force, and the best quality and goals.

Longevity.Technology: What are your funding plans?
Nathan Firer: Thus far, we are self-funded through friends and family. We are currently seeking $750,000+ to build out the team (developers, marketing, sales) plus execute a marketing campaign for 2020/2021. Our monthly burn is small so the fiscal focus is on team-building, continuing the product roadmap, and intelligent social marketing. We’re zealous advocates of the lean start-up method, so being scrappy is vital to our efficient workflow and spending habits.

Longevity.Technology: If you had the power to change one thing about the world to help improve global Longevity, what would it be?
Nathan Firer: I would reconfigure the world’s perspective, most imminently the United States, to truly recognize the importance and value in inter-generational relationships. For thousands of years, respecting one’s elders and wisdom of the elders were central tenets in most cultures. Only in modernity has this profoundly important cultural design sadly diluted away and older adults are marginalized and forgotten for their infinite value and meaning. So that’s what I would improve — people caring more about sharing quality time with older adults in any way they can.

Our Meet the Start-up articles profile emerging companies in the Longevity sector, with a focus on their funding plans, commercialisation strategies, partnerships and routes-to-market. If you know of a startup that we should be talking to, let us know!

Image credit: Megilla