“Before becoming a father, I had my own struggles with debilitating insomnia and the fallout from that.” Edward Wittenberg was born to Hungarian immigrant parents who started a successful printing and packaging business which evolved into an investment and securities firm in 2006. After completing his degree in philosophy, he joined the family business as well as obtaining a commercial flying license and working as a flight instructor. Creating a social media platform and becoming its managing director was not the original plan, Lyf App just seemed more interesting than what was currently available online, and the dream grew from there. Now a father of three young children with his partner of 20 years, Tracey DeGray, Edward has dedicated himself to building a social media platform that promotes compassion and well-being for the people of the modern age. One way to do this is through creating connections between people built upon empathy and the ability to relate. Edward explains “I really would have liked something like Lyf back then. I was left dealing with the fallout with just a handful of family and close friends who wanted to help but, because they had never suffered from insomnia, could not relate. They didn’t really know what to say or do. The result was that I felt totally alone. Lyf is important because no matter how perfect some people’s lives seem to be on mainstream social media, every person has a struggle of some kind. Whether, it’s a relationship problem, a mental health issue, grief, addiction, grappling with one’s own sexuality, illness, injury, dilemma or challenge of any kind ... now we have a platform where we can meet others who are going through the same or similar struggles. Others who can empathize and relate without judgement.” Everything about Edward has to do with trying to make the world better – whether it’s just his corner of it in Melbourne or globally through outreach in the Lyf app; he truly cares about the users of Lyf enough to be the sole-financial backer of the platform, through EGW Investments, his namesake capital investiture firm. For the future, Lyf will continue to court compassion through connection and continue to provide a much-needed alternative to traditional social media.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Marty Jonas joined lyf in December 2013. He was strongly drawn to the idea of building a beautiful digital space that supported real people through the highs and lows of everyday life: "We all achieve more and become more when we are supported by others, especially when times get tough". Marty joined lyf with the primary roles of product development, design and branding. Marty previously worked as a primary school teacher and then embarked on a career change into the design industry before co-founding lyf.