Tell us a little about yourself!
Amelia Lin is the CEO and co-founder of Saga, an app that helps families save the life stories of loved ones on audio. Saga has been featured in publications including Forbes and CNET, and won the 2020 Innovator Award from End Well and the AARP. As the daughter of two Chinese immigrants, Amelia started Saga to save her own parents’ stories. Prior to founding Saga, she worked at a range of Silicon Valley technology companies including Udacity and Optimizely. She holds an undergraduate degree in physics and an MBA from Harvard University, and lives in Mountain View.
Tell us about your company and how you got started!
Saga is an app that saves and shares your family’s memories in a private family podcast.
- Answer fun question prompts like “What’s the biggest trouble you got into as a kid?”
- Record stories in your voice
- Hear each other’s collected answers – it’s like getting a podcast of your family’s best stories.
I started Saga for my own family. I’m Chinese-American, and when my sister and I were kids, my mom and dad used to tell us stories about growing up, how they met, why they came to America. So, for years, I’d begged my parents to find some way of recording these stories, not just for me but for my kids someday, and their kids. I wanted to create something easy for them for use, something fun, and something we could use together as a family even when we’re apart.
Get weekly questions.
We send weekly prompts like, “What was the biggest trouble you got into as a kid?” Choose from our suggestions, or write your own.
They record, via app or a call.
Your family records their answers in their own voice, on their own time. They can also record by telephone, even without the app.
You get stories like a podcast.
Stories are shared to your private family channel. It’s like getting a podcast of your Grandma’s childhood stories.
What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
My lowest low was three months in – I was lonely, missed having coworkers and a team, and honestly didn’t know how to tell whether I was crazy or not for leaving my comfortable job. It was really hard to tell. Is this a great idea or the dumbest idea in the world? I’d tried a lot of things by then. I remember driving past nice offices, and thinking, man, I walked away from that. Am I an idiot?
Two weeks later, I had my biggest high: a complete stranger found the website and asked to buy the product. So I went from the lowest low, to on top of the world. I can’t even tell you how exciting that was. I thought it was a joke, that it must be a friend on the site! That’s when things turned around. A real person wanted what I was building, and wanted to pay money for it. That became our first paid customer.
But my lesson learned was I’m glad I kept holding on. I am a very stubborn person by nature, and if I decide I am going to try to do something, I will do everything I can to try and make it happen. And if I had quit when I was feeling low, I might not have known that two weeks around the corner, good news was just waiting for me. I think a lot of the founder journey is, really, can you hold on long enough for things to turn around–can you just keep holding on?