Unlike most tech startups trying to woo the attention of millennials, Saskatoon native Katrina German started by going after the seniors market with her video interview platform, OneStory.
Before co-founding the Saskatewan-based service, German ran a company that interviewed seniors for video biographies. She knew firsthand the frustrations that often come with gathering interviews online: soliciting material in the first place was difficult enough without the difficulty of editing the segments into usable files or curating the staggering number of submissions on Vimeo or YouTube.
In 2012 German met programmer Dale Zak, who told her he was thinking of developing an interview app – intended for seniors, coincidentally enough – that would solve her editing and curating problems, and OneStory was born.
“It started with senior biographies, then it moved into the idea that everybody has a story, then the idea of how do we make it easy for organizations with existing audiences to be telling a story?” German says.
Released in July 2013 after a seven-month development period, the app allows interviewers to send their subjects a list of questions, records their answers, then edits them into a single video that is automatically stored on the company’s servers. The results are easily organized and publicly accessible, and to date, German and Zak have licensed their service to users and clients in more than 19 countries.
“We’ve made crowdsourcing video interviews a really easy, one-step process,” German says. “An organization can ask any number of questions, people can respond through their webcam, and our system will automatically stitch the responses together into a little mini-documentary.”
“Absolutely no editing at all is required for the user or the organization,” she continues, “and the mini-documentaries are all branded with the logo of the organization asking the questions.”
Since its launch, OneStory’s clients have included a mix of recruiters, non-profit organizations, and charities. For example, TEDx Saskatoon used the app to interview potential speakers, while the Salvation Army in Toronto has been using it to collect residents’ reactions to homelessness as part of their “It’s Time to End Poverty” campaign.
The app is ideal not only for interviews, but non-profit organizations too, German says, since the public videos are all live-tweeted and can build social media buzz from the moment they’re released.
“We already have stories from 23 different countries, but would like to double that in the next year,” she says. “More importantly, we’d like to be a household name for people who need crowdsourced video.”
OneStory’s services are currently offered through a subscription system, with clients paying between $25 and $250 per month for an unlimited number of videos, though perks such as a private campaign or approval of videos before they’re released to the public cost extra.