What if pictures verbally told their own stories?

Pittsburgh entrepreneur David Palmer, whose last startup was the personal robotics company Bossa Nova, is the force behind a new startup that hopes to do just that, letting pictures actually speak.

“It’s a new form of social media that enables deeper more richer interactions within the photographs and creates a journey of reminiscence,” says Palmer.

In stealth mode for the last year, Rewyndr plans to unveil its first product this summer, a platform called REFLECT. The design is built around affinity groups like high school or college alumna, he says. Users embed their stories into photographs on a shared site as videos or audio narratives.

The technology allows users to deepen their story-telling around these shared experiences.  The experience is designed to give users complete privacy within their affinity groups.

“The result creates a much deeper form of engagement and richer bonding experience in contrast to the fleeting and ephemeral social media out there that’s almost a form of bragging,” he says.

The original idea came from co-founder Craig Waller, a Pittsburgh patent attorney, who was relating a story of how he found a cache of photos that belonged to his father, who had recently passed.

If only the photos could tell their own story about the people and places in the picture, he mused. The two took the idea and ran with it.

“We realized this was an incredible opportunity,” says Palmer. “A photograph is a visual data point that captures a point in time. Within a photo there can be untold backstories and connection points.”

The pair hired three CMU software engineers and began developing a database architecture and software tools to support what they believe will be the next generation social media tool.

“People want discreet social networks that won’t show up on a Google search,” he adds. “With this, they always know who is in the room. These are small affinity groups that are self-selected.”


Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared in Fast Company, Ozy and Pittsburgh Magazine.