Lessie Benningfield Randle, also known as Mother Randle, is one of the last two survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre. StoryFile created a virtual experience that allows audience members to ask questions about her experiences.
West Hollywood-based StoryFile has raised $4 million to scale its interactive storytelling app.
The StoryFile app uses cloud-based artificial intelligence and pre-recorded interviews to create virtual interactions with historical figures, celebrities and eventually, everyday people.
The company, which was founded in 2018, has raised a total to $6 million.
According to Chief Executive Heather Smith, the latest funding will also be used to build business templates and expand StoryFile’s team.
Listeners watching StoryFile video interviews are able to answer questions that are analyzed using AI. The AI then selects and plays back a segment of the recorded interview that is most relevant to the question.
Hours of interviews are recorded to build a database of answers. To create the appearance of an actual conversation, StoryFile aims to develop a database of between 250-500 responses for each interview.
Earlier this year, the company collaborated with the Terence Crutcher Foundation to develop a StoryFile featuring the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in commemoration of the event’s 100th anniversary.
The company has also worked with astronauts, and William Shatner and is currently hosting an exhibit at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival featuring two elevator operators who worked in the Twin Towers during 9/11.
The company plans to release a consumer version of the app, called StoryFile Life, sometime this fall. The app will allow users to record videos of themselves or family members to create their personal interactive experiences.
“It’s in our mission is to make conversational video ubiquitous for everyone and so that 25-50 years from now, everyone will have a StoryFile,” Smith said.
“[One day] you’ll be able to go and talk to any relative you want. Or ask them questions about their life or anyone that lived through a specific period or specific time or event and ask them questions about that,” she added.
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