Saving your family history through curated interviews
Student startup MemoryFox makes it possible with your smartphone
By Grove Potter
Release Date: January 11, 2017
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Simplifying the process of recording interviews with elderly family members is a core principle of a new startup launched by two graduate students in the School of Management at the University at Buffalo.
MemoryFox is an app for smartphones and tablets that helps people interview family members with a series of questions, and then stores the recording on the computer cloud. The goal is to guide people through the process of saving family history — and make it easy.
Founded by MBA students Chris Miano and Lindsay Macaluso, MemoryFox is among the most advanced companies launched from the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB entrepreneurship office.
“I was sitting with my dad in a restaurant. He is a total ham when it comes to telling stories,” Miano said about the impetus for the company. “He was telling a story about growing up on the West Side. I said, ‘You have to write a memoir.’ He said, ‘No, that’s not me.’ So I said, ‘How about recording a story?’ He said he’d do that.”
Macaluso said one of the benefits of their app is its simplicity.
“We’ve taken everything manual out of it,” she said. Once the phone recorder is turned off, the content is automatically saved to the Amazon cloud — the vast computer operation managed by Amazon.
Files can also be shared through email or social platforms, and they can be posted to a public feed for all to enjoy.
“Our goal at the outset was to make this as flexible as possible, so the customers can use it as they please,” Macaluso said.
Miano and Macaluso started MemoryFox in January with guidance from LaunchPad advisors. They were recently selected from hundreds of entries as one of 64 to compete in the Student Startup Madness competition, a nationwide collegiate contest for digital startups. Eight will be selected to compete in March in the finals in Austin, Texas.
Blackstone LaunchPad is a privately funded entrepreneurship training program at the University at Buffalo and 18 other campuses. Miano and Macaluso are utilizing LaunchPad resources to seek seed funding. “It’s amazing how far we have come. A lot of that is having a great resource like Blackstone,” Miano said.
Miano and Macaluso also serve as venture coaches at the LaunchPad.
“It’s a great think tank. It’s always filled with people who love to innovate and have open minds and positive attitudes. So when you’re surrounded by that, just by osmosis, you’re just going to move forward,” Miano said.
Miano and Macaluso plan to grow and keep the company in Buffalo. He returned to UB after eight years in the Army and said he intends to stay in Western New York. Macaluso concurs. With four brothers and a large extended family, she plans to stay.