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The Onceupon App

Every place has a story.
Pin your stories to their place on the map, to be read only by people who visit these places.

Photo CC Heiwa4126

Unlock the stories that connect you to your world.

These are the stories of your family, of your friends, of your countless neighbors from all over the world.

Using your smartphone or tablet, read, rate, curate and share your discoveries.

Photo CC Nate Bolt

We believe in storytelling.

We believe in the stories that each of us lives every day.

We believe in connecting with our neighborhoods through a shared experience in the written word.

We believe that once you know the stories of a place, you can truly belong.

Photo CC pop★


Antoine Valot

French-born U.S. transplant Antoine Valot is a User Experience consultant, theatre director, husband and father of two in Denver, CO. His story is one of a globe-trotting childhood, and an early passion for computers as design and communication tools. His career coincided exactly with the invention and ascent of the web, and Antoine has designed, architected, built, branded and marketed countless websites, intranets, portals, and web and mobile apps for the last twenty years. Antoine is also addicted to Startup Weekend, where he has participated in the two-day launches of five different startups. He is CEO and co-founder of Onceupon.

Nate Ragolia

Colorado native Nate Ragolia is a writer and novelist. His story is that of a scrappy upstart who takes a big gamble, without a safety net, but with a voracious smile. Ragolia is a prolific creative who maintains two regular webcomics (The Illiterate Badger and The Right Corking Adventures of Cecil Larkbunting & Alastair Wakerobin) as well as a music-critique blog. Ragolia writes modern literature as well as children's books, and works as Narrative Strategist for The Beanstalk Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit. Ragolia attended the University of Colorado Boulder, and freelances as [NR] Writing & Editing. He is COO and co-founder of Onceupon.

Photo CC Alexandre Duret-Lutz

A little history...

Onceupon was born in late 2013 in the Denver Bicycle Cafe, an uptown neighborhood hotspot. Founders Antoine and Nate have been working together over the last 18 months, at the amazing Beanstalk Foundation, and they've become fast friends. They know they want to work together, they know they want to create something valuable, something that has a positive impact on its users. Both are concerned with the question of loneliness, particularly what some have termed "the new loneliness," this ability we now all have to remain superficially connected to each other. The question then became: How can we help each other reconnect? How can we make an app that does not help you escape the real world, but instead helps you be more present in it? How could we help people feel more connected to the strangers around them?

Onceupon was not the first idea. Nate began with the concept of an app that would suggest "good things to talk about around here", tips left by locals as to interesting conversation topics for a certain bar, office building, or any other place. Antoine countered: We need constraints! So the idea changed into asking locals to post about something that happened to them "in this place, but at least a year ago." Presumably, unlike trivial and petty status updates, stories remembered after a year or more would be very interesting. But of course that constraint was not really enforceable.

And then it hit them: Keep the stories local. A simple constraint, which made no sense on the internet but makes tremendous sense in the real world. They would build an app that is the equivalent of a guestbook for every place in the world. The radical simplicity of the concept touched a chord, and Onceupon was born. The rest of its history unfolds as we speak... and we encourage you to follow it on foot.

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Join the party!

Register now for an author account, and come share some stories!

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