Hi, I'm Quinten,

the founder of Portola.

We’re a small team of designers and engineers helping kids create amazing stories, and using AI to render them in immersive audio and imagery.


In past lives we were YC founders as teenagers, won Apple Design Awards, and founded a mission-driven bank that helped consumers save hundreds of millions of dollars. Our investors are the founders of Instagram, Notion, Replit, Vimeo, and more. That's my long way of saying this is not our first startup – but hopefully, it is our last.

If you work on the internet today, you probably have a formative memory of using a computer to make something for the first time.

For many people, it was the first website they designed. Maybe you wrote code to mod a favorite game. For me, it was as simple as a forum post I wrote where someone on the other side of the world responded.


This was the promise of the early internet. Every person building, creating, and sharing what they made.


But making things with computers is still hard. It turns out that the internet was also a compelling conduit for consumption. So we lost our way. Today, for most people, the internet is just a more personalized and addictive form of television.

AI gives us a second chance to build a world where everyone creates more than they consume.

To do this, we need to build for young people, to catch them while their natural creativity and curiosity is intact.


We need to make it easy for people to create the same content that they love to consume: immersive, visually rich stories inhabited by compelling characters.


The good news is that even the current generation of models gives us the ability to create, in near-real time, exactly this kind of content.

But the AI products that exist today feel like shims – placeholders filling space while we figure out the right way to talk to AI.

The text box and the chatbot will quickly feel as outdated as a physical keyboard on a smartphone. The first generation of AI creative tools — narrow, made to augment people who are already proficient in a given domain — will give way to AI-native products, products that leap seamlessly across modalities and feel intuitive and accessible to amateurs.


That's precisely what we're building at Portola.


Imagine a sandbox for constructing stories — stories which are rendered with cinematic audio and visuals.


You are given complete control over defining characters, settings, and narrative. There’s no text input or prompt engineering. You assemble story components with blocks, as if you’re playing with Lego. You volley ideas back and forth with the model, as if you’re playfully one-upping a friend. You share imprecise, open ended ideas, and are delighted by the unexpected results that bounce back.


You’re not doing this alone. You’re inhabiting this sandbox, in real-time, with your friends. When you together make something that you’re proud of, you share it to the World Library, to be explored, discussed, and remixed by others.

We named the company for the Portola Institute, a small group formed in San Francisco in the 1960s with a goal of making computing accessible as a tool for creativity and exploration.

The Portola Institute went on to be the home of the Whole Earth Catalog — where Stewart Brand defined for a generation how technology could be both useful and deeply personal.


We intend to bring the ideas of Brand and the Portola Institute forward into the AI age. We reject the idea that the best use of AI will be to build spreadsheets more efficiently, or to generate a more personalized TikTok feed. We exist to build a future where every human views AI as a personal creative partner, not as a distant chatbot or algorithm.


This will not be an easy journey. We’ll be designing entirely new interaction paradigms for an entirely new form of computing. We will push the absolute bleeding edge of what is possible with generative models. Our competition? The companies that already spend billions of dollars crafting the perfect consumption machines to capture every last second of humanity’s collective leisure time.


But I believe that the world we’re building – where every person grows up knowing the joy of creating and expressing themselves – is a world worth fighting for.


Do you?

Hi, I'm Quinten,

the founder of Portola.

We’re a small team of designers and engineers helping kids create amazing stories, and using AI to render them in immersive audio and imagery.


In past lives we were YC founders as teenagers, won Apple Design Awards, and founded a mission-driven bank that helped consumers save hundreds of millions of dollars. Our investors are the founders of Instagram, Notion, Replit, Vimeo, and more. That's my long way of saying this is not our first startup – but hopefully, it is our last.

If you work on the internet today, you probably have a formative memory of using a computer to make something for the first time.

For many people, it was the first website they designed. Maybe you wrote code to mod a favorite game. For me, it was as simple as a forum post I wrote where someone on the other side of the world responded.


This was the promise of the early internet. Every person building, creating, and sharing what they made.


But making things with computers is still hard. It turns out that the internet was also a compelling conduit for consumption. So we lost our way. Today, for most people, the internet is just a more personalized and addictive form of television.

AI gives us a second chance to build a world where everyone creates more than they consume.

To do this, we need to build for young people, to catch them while their natural creativity and curiosity is intact.


We need to make it easy for people to create the same content that they love to consume: immersive, visually rich stories inhabited by compelling characters.


The good news is that even the current generation of models gives us the ability to create, in near-real time, exactly this kind of content.

But the AI products that exist today feel like shims – placeholders filling space while we figure out the right way to talk to AI.

The text box and the chatbot will quickly feel as outdated as a physical keyboard on a smartphone. The first generation of AI creative tools — narrow, made to augment people who are already proficient in a given domain — will give way to AI-native products, products that leap seamlessly across modalities and feel intuitive and accessible to amateurs.


That's precisely what we're building at Portola.


Imagine a sandbox for constructing stories — stories which are rendered with cinematic audio and visuals.


You are given complete control over defining characters, settings, and narrative. There’s no text input or prompt engineering. You assemble story components with blocks, as if you’re playing with Lego. You volley ideas back and forth with the model, as if you’re playfully one-upping a friend. You share imprecise, open ended ideas, and are delighted by the unexpected results that bounce back.


You’re not doing this alone. You’re inhabiting this sandbox, in real-time, with your friends. When you together make something that you’re proud of, you share it to the World Library, to be explored, discussed, and remixed by others.

We named the company for the Portola Institute, a small group formed in San Francisco in the 1960s with a goal of making computing accessible as a tool for creativity and exploration.

The Portola Institute went on to be the home of the Whole Earth Catalog — where Stewart Brand defined for a generation how technology could be both useful and deeply personal.


We intend to bring the ideas of Brand and the Portola Institute forward into the AI age. We reject the idea that the best use of AI will be to build spreadsheets more efficiently, or to generate a more personalized TikTok feed. We exist to build a future where every human views AI as a personal creative partner, not as a distant chatbot or algorithm.


This will not be an easy journey. We’ll be designing entirely new interaction paradigms for an entirely new form of computing. We will push the absolute bleeding edge of what is possible with generative models. Our competition? The companies that already spend billions of dollars crafting the perfect consumption machines to capture every last second of humanity’s collective leisure time.


But I believe that the world we’re building – where every person grows up knowing the joy of creating and expressing themselves – is a world worth fighting for.


Do you?

Hi, I'm Quinten,

the founder of Portola.

We’re a small team of designers and engineers helping kids create amazing stories, and using AI to render them in immersive audio and imagery.


In past lives we were YC founders as teenagers, won Apple Design Awards, and founded a mission-driven bank that helped consumers save hundreds of millions of dollars. Our investors are the founders of Instagram, Notion, Replit, Vimeo, and more. That's my long way of saying this is not our first startup – but hopefully, it is our last.

If you work on the internet today, you probably have a formative memory of using a computer to make something for the first time.

For many people, it was the first website they designed. Maybe you wrote code to mod a favorite game. For me, it was as simple as a forum post I wrote where someone on the other side of the world responded.


This was the promise of the early internet. Every person building, creating, and sharing what they made.


But making things with computers is still hard. It turns out that the internet was also a compelling conduit for consumption. So we lost our way. Today, for most people, the internet is just a more personalized and addictive form of television.

AI gives us a second chance to build a world where everyone creates more than they consume.

To do this, we need to build for young people, to catch them while their natural creativity and curiosity is intact.


We need to make it easy for people to create the same content that they love to consume: immersive, visually rich stories inhabited by compelling characters.


The good news is that even the current generation of models gives us the ability to create, in near-real time, exactly this kind of content.

But the AI products that exist today feel like shims – placeholders filling space while we figure out the right way to talk to AI.

The text box and the chatbot will quickly feel as outdated as a physical keyboard on a smartphone. The first generation of AI creative tools — narrow, made to augment people who are already proficient in a given domain — will give way to AI-native products, products that leap seamlessly across modalities and feel intuitive and accessible to amateurs.


That's precisely what we're building at Portola.


Imagine a sandbox for constructing stories — stories which are rendered with cinematic audio and visuals.


You are given complete control over defining characters, settings, and narrative. There’s no text input or prompt engineering. You assemble story components with blocks, as if you’re playing with Lego. You volley ideas back and forth with the model, as if you’re playfully one-upping a friend. You share imprecise, open ended ideas, and are delighted by the unexpected results that bounce back.


You’re not doing this alone. You’re inhabiting this sandbox, in real-time, with your friends. When you together make something that you’re proud of, you share it to the World Library, to be explored, discussed, and remixed by others.

We named the company for the Portola Institute, a small group formed in San Francisco in the 1960s with a goal of making computing accessible as a tool for creativity and exploration.

The Portola Institute went on to be the home of the Whole Earth Catalog — where Stewart Brand defined for a generation how technology could be both useful and deeply personal.


We intend to bring the ideas of Brand and the Portola Institute forward into the AI age. We reject the idea that the best use of AI will be to build spreadsheets more efficiently, or to generate a more personalized TikTok feed. We exist to build a future where every human views AI as a personal creative partner, not as a distant chatbot or algorithm.


This will not be an easy journey. We’ll be designing entirely new interaction paradigms for an entirely new form of computing. We will push the absolute bleeding edge of what is possible with generative models. Our competition? The companies that already spend billions of dollars crafting the perfect consumption machines to capture every last second of humanity’s collective leisure time.


But I believe that the world we’re building – where every person grows up knowing the joy of creating and expressing themselves – is a world worth fighting for.


Do you?