For those of you that have always read your horoscope and thought, “how could this possibly be accurate for only me?”, Banu Guler, Anna Kopp, and Ben Weitzman are working on the answer. The Co–Star team have created an app that writes ultra-specific readings for your birth chart alone, with transits explained in segments rather than a generalized paragraph or each sun sign. Use the app to find out your how compatibility with Rihanna, or your closest friends. With over 1000 five star reviews in the iTunes App Store, and hitting the top 500 apps list, Co–Star Astrology is a must-download for horoscope enthusiasts. Their app has gone viral in Russia, despite the app only being available in English. I wanted to chat with the Co–Star team a bit more in-depth to find out how they came together.
How did you get the idea to start Co–Star?
We’ve been in the fashion world for years, and noticed that everyone is obsessed with astrology, and really, using it in a super-interesting way: as tools to define who they are and how they relate to each other. But the workflows are soooo broken – asking “what’s your rising again?” over and over, busted sites that haven’t been updated since the 90s, screenshots littering everyone’s camera rolls. We really thought there was a huge opportunity to create the first astrology experience people really love.
How did meet and how did you all find out that you enjoy astrology?
We ran tech at the social fashion platform VFILES for a couple years together before this. We’re all really interested in technology, AI, and natural language, and – as you probably know – astrology is basically complex outer space geometry. So it seemed obvious once we got into it that we could use tech to create the kind of personalization that has, up to now, been limited to people who have personal astrologers.
How long did it take you to create the app that we have today?
We’ve been working on the app since May, and we launched it just a couple months ago. It’s been pretty crazy!
What can we expect from Co–Star in the future?
Daily horoscopes are going to be launching to our beta pretty soon. We’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming down the pipeline after that. Keep an eye on our Instagram for previews of new features we’re working on!
I saw that you can see how compatible you are with friends. I only have one acquaintance on the app, but our friendship interpretation is fairly dead-on! How did you get the idea to create this feature?
Astrology is a way of connecting with your friends, a way of talking about difference that isn’t tied to race or gender or class. It’s just like, oh, you love attention because you’re a Leo, or you are a little bit evil because you’re a Scorpio. And we’ve been seeing this for years – everyone we know reads their horoscope, knows when Mercury is in retrograde and talks about their sun, moon, and rising signs.
Honestly, we’re just taking what people are already doing in person, over text, and on social media, and translating it into software. Everything that Co–Star does is what people have been doing for years: compatibility with their friends and crushes, looking up their charts, reading horoscopes, etc.
Who are your favourite astrologers?
Our favorite astrologers are our friends! Astrology is really so personal, there’s always a certain distance you feel with a stranger. That said, Corina Dross is the best astrology writer we know.
How do you think that astrology guides people?
Is there another form of small talk that pushes conversation towards such how we really feel, what we really want, who we really are? It gives us tools and language to explain who we are and how we relate to the people around us. For instance, knowing that someone is a Cancer gives meaning to their moods, lets us treat them with generosity, and allows difference to exist as something that isn’t threatening.
I read that you all worked at VFILES previously, would you ever consider adding a fashion or outfit-planning element to the app?
In a lot of ways, fashion isn’t about clothes, but about identity. Waking up in the morning and choosing what to wear is about how you’re feeling, which worlds you’re moving in, how you want to relate to people. That’s incredibly personal and vulnerable, which is why these outfit-planning apps are so boring and lame. The way you think about what to wear is more like, what am I afraid of, what do I want – and that sounds a lot more like a horoscope than an outfit-planner!
How do you think astrology works?
Humans have a need to be a part of something larger than themselves. With the decline of religion, there’s a belief vacuum: we go from work to the bar to the Chinese spot back home to watch Netflix, with no semblance of meaning. Our entire world is hyper-mediated and rational, just running around and looking at images on a screen. Astrology is a way out of it, a way of putting yourself in the context of thousands of years of history and the universe.