Midwest born and bred brothers, AJ and Aaron Greenberg, have been building something special and they want you all to know about it. It’s called Biograph, and it uses AI to help preserve life’s precious milestones straight from your phone – just upload a photo and provide a voice memo, and use the app to create a beautifully storied photo book, voila! The former college professor and writer (Aaron), and student of industrial engineering (AJ) ventured down this entrepreneurial road back in 2018, with the app launching in 2022. Aaron explains, “Our platform offers lifelong storytelling guidance and a home base for all your memories.” Get to know more about this preservation tool from these midwestern brothers. Welcome, AJ and Aaron!
Hi AJ and Aaron! Please introduce yourselves. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hi! We are two brothers with a shared passion and diverse approach to storytelling. AJ is an engineer and product designer. Aaron is a master of language with a humanities PhD from Northwestern and has a baby on the way. We were born and raised in 60062. Midwesterners at heart, AJ lives in the Gold Coast; Aaron and his wife Nazanin live in River North but just bought a home in Highland Park. Speaking of what brought us here, Biograph loves simple yet provocative questions like “What brought you here?” People offer such a rich diversity of responses, everything from “my wife brought me here” to “fate brought me here” to “my great-grandparents, who fled pogroms in Russia…” Family, security, community, and the pursuit of the American Dream brought us here!
And your families…
Aaron and his wife Nazanin are expecting their first child in July. With Biograph, we’ve been able to preserve moments around key milestones in our pregnancy journey: ultrasounds, sharing the news, naming, and much more. Our entire family can speak authentically to our future son on Biograph, so that one day he can listen and reply. The app has captured many moments from our transition to parenthood that would otherwise be lost.
Let’s dive into Biograph! What is Biograph, when did you both launch this business and what need are you filling that young families don’t already have?
Biograph is a platform that guides people to tell the best stories over time with photos, videos, voice, text, and intergenerational conversations. We’ve been perfecting the art of storytelling since 2018, helping one family at a time preserve their treasured memories. We launched the Biograph App in December 2022 to make our unique service accessible to everyone. No other company offers spoken storytelling, collaboration, guidance, and privacy. Biograph makes it easy and fun to tell authentic stories in real time, alive with rich details that would otherwise fly by and be forgotten. Our platform offers lifelong storytelling guidance and a home base for all your memories.
How did you come up with the idea to start Biograph? What did you fellas do before this?
We believe in the self-fulfilling power of storytelling to shape lives. Aaron was a college professor and writer; AJ studied industrial engineering and worked at a bank. Biograph grew organically from our own passion and desire to record and share real stories from our own lives. Existing social media is toxic and too public. Journaling is too solitary and laborious. We built a boutique storytelling business which served hundreds of families on the North Shore and beyond and launched the Biograph App to enhance our offering.
Family connections is the number one goal of Biograph. How does this tool achieve that?
Biograph helps families by facilitating meaningful conversations, creating shared experiences, and preserving memories. Hearing the voices of family members telling stories creates deep emotional connections across time. Biograph allows for both spontaneous and guided storytelling. The app transcribes audio notes between family members, preserving them for future generations. This binds family members together and creates a sense of shared, yet unique, identity and purpose.
How does the use of AI come into play with this storytelling product?
Biograph uses AI to elevate and celebrate human creativity. The product has evolved from biography to autobiography to empower people to speak in their own voices, on their own time, without the interference of ghostwriters. Our AI storytelling assistant makes it easy for customers to tell inspiring stories that they may have otherwise forgotten. We also leverage AI to transcribe your audio, so you can read and search for any memory.
How have you focused on growing this business?
We focus on making great products and experiences that our customers love to talk about. Word of mouth has been essential. We place a big emphasis on collaborative storytelling among family and close friends. In turn, every new customer brings on a whole network of people to create shared memories.
Tell us about your staff if you have anyone working for you.
We partner with talented writers, designers, and developers. Our writing team has included Dr. Toby Altman, awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; Dr. Julia Madsen, a first-generation college graduate with a PhD in Creative Writing, and S. Yarberry, a PhD candidate in literature at Northwestern. Our development team includes Dr. David Halsted and Mobcoder.
How does Biograph work from start to finish? How much does it cost?
With Biograph you can easily create and share stories within moments. Simply download the app, upload a picture, and add a voiceover. You can invite others to join your story on Biograph, share across any other platform, or turn your story into a physical postcard or book. We also provide guided storytelling for customers who want to preserve special memories over time. For example, upon the birth of your child, we’ll send prompts at your preferred cadence to help capture every precious milestone. At the end, you can print a beautiful book that will be cherished for generations. The app is totally free to use, with in-app purchases available including beautiful personal birthday and holiday cards for $2.99. We offer a premium subscription for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, which includes special features like long-form recording capability and discounts on printed books and multimedia artifacts.
Describe something you’re most proud of as it relates to Biograph.
We find Biograph so meaningful that it’s how we would choose to spend our time even if we didn’t need it to make a living. We’re proud to know that helping people share their stories with others has positive effects with compounding interest over generations. We’re proud that our profession contributes to the greater good by promoting dialogue, understanding, empathy, and co-creativity.
What’s next for you guys?
We’re on a mission to help everyone tell their own stories. Right now, we’re really focused on serving local moms with young children. Over the next few months, we’ll expand to other geographies and envision Biograph as the best place to create and share life stories.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
The Daily Northwestern recently featured Biograph for making storytelling accessible. Check out the profile here!
How do our readers learn more about getting in touch with you?
Download the Biograph App for iPhone today here.