Jay Newton-Small

MemoryWell | Washington, D.C.

Digital platform for storytelling that brings the skills of professional writers to the challenge of helping elders tell their life story.

#ToryBurchFellows

A sample story on MemoryWell's platform.

Company description…

MemoryWell is a digital platform for elder storytelling. We are the only solution on the market that uses writers versus DIY. Our network of nearly 700 professional writers works with families, senior living communities and home care providers to replace burdensome intake questionnaires with brief, intimate stories. MemoryWell’s portraits build empathy and are poignant keepsakes for families.

I started my company because…

When I moved my dad, who had Alzheimer’s disease, into a senior living community, I was asked to fill out a long, generic questionnaire about his life. This made no sense: who would remember pages of hand-written data points for 150+ residents? Instead, as a longtime TIME Magazine journalist, I wrote his story for his caregivers and it transformed his life. MemoryWell was born. We are the first startup focused on improving the quality of care in a market too obsessed with quantity.

The impact I want my company to have on the world…

Biography can inform care across the spectrum, turning sensors from early warning systems not just for falls and emergencies, but also for isolation. Understanding that when a devout person stops going to church, or when a gourmand stops using their stove, those can be early signs of depression. To that end, we’re harnessing machine learning to pull data from our stories that we hope can inform everything from socio-environmental triggers for diseases to sensor data from home monitoring systems. With our stories, we put the person in person-centered care. Think of us as the 23&Me of life storytelling.

Top 3 goals for my business are…

  1. Market fit.
  2. Scale.
  3. Data.

Women entrepreneurs are…

Brave. We are truly pioneers, going where others haven’t and forging the way.

I #EmbraceAmbition because…

Every time an older man calls me too aggressive, a younger woman sees an example of empowerment.

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