A Lake Forest-based startup hopes to create the “YouTube of information.”

Michelle 2-letterbox[1]Source: NoteStream
“NoteStream actually started with French wine, as so many things do,” said Michelle Forsythe, co-founder of NoteStream. NoteStream is a Lake Forest-based startup that has created a mobile publishing app, featuring curated articles on topics as diverse as military history and gardening.

Forysthe started the company with her husband last year, and the two have steadily been growing the business since then.

“We were looking at a bottle of French wine and we had no idea what kind of grapes were in it. The reality was that we weren’t going to take a class on it,” said Forsythe. “We thought, there has to be a way to get some credible information on your mobile phone in a way that isn’t an endless scroll.”

unspecifiedSource: NoteStream

And thus: NoteStream was born. While longform content on the Internet is read less than 15 percent of the time, NoteStream averages more than a 60 percent completion rate.

But articles about craft beer and the ivory trade are not the only things NoteStream offers. The site also has an established book club, where they release novels serially. It started with releasing Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” over the holiday season, piece by piece.

“People were very enthusiastic about it,” said Forsythe. “He quickly became the most followed author on the platform.”

The classics soon gave way to original, interactive fiction with NoteStream’s newest book club entry: The iCandidate. The story, released in installments, is about a reality show designed to pick the next president of the United States.

Thanks to it being written serially, the story often incorporates events that have happened throughout the real 2016 presidential election. Users will also soon be able to “interact” with the iCandidates through a chat function in a virtual green room and can even read one character’s blog alongside the story.

unspecified-2Source: NoteStream

“Rather than just reading a book, we’re pushing it into the 21st century,” said Forsythe. “It’s really this interactive world. You’re not just reading a book anymore, you’re actually taking part.”

Plans are already underway for their next piece of interactive fiction. In mid-April, NoteStream users can look forward to the release of “Divas,” which Forsythe describes as “Charlie’s Angels on steroids.” “Divas” will be told in a graphic novel style, and readers will be able to submit their own artwork of the characters and interact with them over social media. Another possibility in the future is an “art history mystery.” A call for authors will be put out soon for those interested in creating their own works of interactive literature.

In addition to more fiction, NoteStream will continue expanding into new topics like the Olympics and green living. They’ll also be releasing classic novels like “Pride and Prejudice” with fun additions like a virtual tea room where readers can discuss what’s going on in the story.

“Right now we’re a kitchen table sort of start-up, so it’s a matter of growing readership while we grow content,” said Forsythe.

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Originally posted 2016-03-29 21:39:27.

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