Pin It

The new AI-powered astrology app that matches you using the stars

Co-Star, produced by an ex-VFiles team, alchemises the complex world of birth charts into something as easy to use as Tinder

“Um, what’s your sign?” is the first thing me and most of my 20-something friends ask when meeting someone new. And when someone says they are a Virgo or Leo, it’s still not enough! We need to know about their other planets, their Venus, their Mars, their Jupiter. “If you don’t know your birth-time, text your mom for it. I can do your chart, right now!” It’s an automatic instinct for me, a valley-boy cyborg millennial, one of the first generations in history to be inundated with constant information and references about astrology online. I can only daydream about what it would be like to just scroll through the new contacts in my phone and pull up all their personal astrological data, so I can make calculated judgements about the person before even developing any real intimacy with them. Like sigh, if only there was an app for that … Oh wait! There is!

Co-Star is the “first ever AI-powered astrology app,” brought to you by a start-up team who all previously worked at fashion site VFiles. Co-Star uses “NASA data to generate super-personalized horoscopes, tailored to your exact time and place of birth, plus planet-by-planet compatibility.” With its gorgeous futuristic user-friendly interface, and daily emoji-filled updates, there has never been a time in history where you could have so much fun interacting with the analytics of your natal-chart.

The app brings people together in ways you wouldn’t expect. You can add your friends, (you’ll see who is on the app because it connects to the contacts in your phone) and find out if you would make good fuck/love buddies from seeing your Mars and Venus compatibility. Maybe there’s someone in your life that you don’t get along with. Perhaps that’s because of elemental oppositions in your chart. The app will show you this as a “ :| ” moment.

Most people discovering astrology fall into a panic of sensory overload and give up on pursuing the ancient wisdom of the stars – Co-Star aims to alchemise something complex into something accessible and user-friendly.

We caught up with Scorpio co-founder Banu Guler to chat Mercury Retrograde, celebrities who might be on the app, and the importance of human connection.

How has your Mercury Retrograde in Aries been?

Banu Guler: It’s been intense. We’ve had a ton of outages the week before last. We’ve had some troubles with the servers, like, mind you, at this point there are a thousand people downloading the app per hour. Bonkers! The servers have been the worst since the week we launched and I totally blame Mercury Retrograde.

How did you and your team decide you wanted to be the ones to make the Astrology app you wanted to see in the world?

Banu Guler: My friend had a kid a few years ago and I made a full book-length reading of his chart. I designed it, bounded it in a hardcover book, brought it to the baby-shower and everyone was fawning over it, it was all black and goth. Everything else is in the room was like a baby pink giraffe baby t-shirt. I was like damn, there’s so much room to make astrology something really cool. Astrology seems to be cool in the scenes we both run in like artsy/cultured and open-minded type people and the friends at the baby shower were all normies, and it was so fun to see them be like “Weird! How do you know about all of this?” I just didn’t understand why there wasn’t something more accessible then going to a janky website and figuring it all out.

The Co-Star team all worked at VFiles for a few years. It was fascinating how much time we spent thinking about social media and the level of emptiness it creates in people. People understand how lonely it can feel when you scroll through Instagram for hours and you feel empty, like there is nothing there. We didn’t want to settle for that, and all thought: “There has gotta be a better way to connect with people collectively through the internet.”

Astrology is one of the ways a lot of people try to connect with each other in the IRL world, like it’s easier to tell someone you are self-centred because you have the knowledge that your moon is in Leo but it’s harder to claim those aspects of yourself without referencing astrology.

“Astrology is one of the ways a lot of people try to connect with each other in the IRL world, like it’s easier to tell someone you are self-centred because you have the knowledge that your moon is in Leo” – Banu Guler

Do you think our generation’s interest in astrology comes from a spiritual poverty in the West, and the inability to find connection to a higher “thing”?

Banu Guler: I’m not a big believer in the God thing but what religion does very well is that it gives people a framework for being together. If you think of the Ten Commandments, ultimately that’s saying “How can we live with each other as a community? Well don’t kill each other, don’t sleep with your neighbour’s wife, don’t be a dick!” I think astrology does a similar thing but in a much less prescriptive, dogmatic way. Astrology can be the key to having intimate conversations about self-examination, understanding how you are different and how you are similar. It can make you feel so human.

I think it’s funny how a lot of people are cynical about astrology, but I think even people who don’t believe the metaphysical/magickal side of it, can still benefit off of it. I don’t understand how people don’t see that it can be a useful way to categorize or identify certain qualities or behaviours or patterns in your personality and others around you without even believing in it, like in a Carl-Jung kind of way. It can be a self-help tool, like, “Oh, here’s one of my Sag Moon freak-outs coming on, cool it.” What do you have to say to the cynics?

Banu Guler: Myers Briggs also has no scientific basis but 90% of fortune five hundred companies pay for it regardless. The external and apparent usefulness overpowers those facts. If one of your friends is an INFP, you know to not suggest going out to the bar when you hang out because that person is introverted. People do the same with astrology. Just switch “INFP” with “Cancer.” It’s the same thing. If it’s not supported by science, that has nothing to do with whether it’s useful in our everyday lives. Astrology is a science on personality that has been around for thousands of years. It’s accumulated human wisdom.

“Astrology can be the key to having intimate conversations about self-examination” – Banu Guler

I find that Virgos are always cynical of astrology because they view it as another binary that is trying to control them. A lot of people dislike labels that they can’t control. What do you have to say to people who find astrology to be dogmatic, or reinforcing binaries, something a lot of people in our generation are trying to shed?

Banu Guler: There are coincidences and patterns that you can’t ignore when you start to get into astrology. When you pay attention, you notice stuff. There is more beauty in full-chart astrology instead of mainstream sun-sign astrology. It gives you room to say: “I’m a Scorpio but most of my chart is in Sagittarius and guess what? I identify way more with my Sag side!” When people say to someone “You don’t seem like a Capricorn,” they can say, “Most of my chart is in Aquarius” or whatever it is. There’s always an explanation in astrology. Isn’t that what makes it mysterious and beautiful?

Do you see Instagram as an astrology dating app?

Banu Guler: I get that idea. There are tons of people who put their sun/moon and rising sign in their bio and I know tons of people who date people off Instagram but I wouldn’t ever compare it to Tinder.

I find that most people are very overwhelmed when it comes to understanding astrology; people get confused by the houses, the transits, the planets. It’s all too much. Do you want Co-Star to be a more digestible, compact digital space to learn about astrology?

Banu Guler: Personally, the logic of tech is to make something that is overcomplicated into something simplified or accessible. Everything I’ve learned about astrology I learned from sweet and caring friends who can speak very clear and distinct about astrology and that’s definitely the kind of language we try to mimic on the app. It’s not reading totems from the 1800s anymore. Co-Star is meant to sound like a friend who is in your living room with you.  

“It’s getting harder and harder to say what you really think and feel. Astrology is a tool to do that. That’s magickal to me” – Banu Guler

Do you feel like human relationships are becoming more and more superficial?

Banu Guler: Absolutely. There is this huge vacuum that social media is creating and I see human relationships becoming more and more superficial. It’s getting harder and harder to say what you really think and feel. Astrology is a tool to do that. That’s magickal to me.

Is there something mysterious to you, the possibility that this is all happening in our heads, that we will never know if Astrology is something real or not?

Banu Guler: Come on, it’s so boring to think that this is everything. It’s such a limited view of the world, there is so much more than science. It’s fine to think of it as pure-correlation, like your Saturn’s Return is every 30 years and you freak out, and you think “Who am I?” That just makes sense! I don’t think the stars are controlling our bodies but you can’t ignore the “coincidence” that people who are born in August can come off a little more self-centered then others.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence I blew a bunch of money on designer clothing when Venus entered Taurus!

Banu Guler: Hell yeah. Also as I’ve had access to my friends charts who have added me on co-star, it’s spooky sometimes seeing how many people mirror their chart. The outer placements especially! Mars is a much more important planet then people talk about. We can understand our magnetism towards certain people, when we know their chart.

What are some new features fans of Co-Star can be looking forward to?

Banu Guler: Right now we are doing a complete redesign of the updates page. We are trying harder to hide some of the complexities. The feature I am most excited about is (beta title) “Who to see today?” Basically, what this feature does is it looks at your transits and your friend’s transits you have added on the app and it will tell you something like “Today is a good day to go out and get drunk with Andrew cause you both are having similar transits.”   Did you know compatibility is based on whether you are going through similar transits at a similar time? We can give instructions about things you and your friend both might be thinking about, and suggest things you should do. The app is about connection more than anything else.   No human astrologer can do this. This is why I love tech.

Do some people identify differently than the sign they were assigned, like “I was born a Cancer but I identify as a Virgo?”  

Banu Guler: It’s so funny you say this because the most common email we get from fans is “My chart is wrong, I’m definitely a pisces (or whatever sign they think they are) what is wrong with your software?” We ultimately realized there are a lot of websites that compute charts incorrectly, and because people have been told they are a sign and they so thoroughly believe that the sign they were told they are is their actual sign that it’s really hard to change their mind.

Spill the tea. Are any celebrities on the app? Is Lana Del Rey?

Banu Guler: There are quite a few celebrities who use Co-Star, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lana is on there but I can’t confirm that with you.

What are your hot tips for people who want to learn about astrology?

Learn the elements. The elements are so helpful in categorizing how the signs fit together.

Understand the ruling planet of each sign. For example, you will understand Cancers more, if you understand the moon.

Download Co-Star and add all your friends. You will see patterns in people’s chart placements that will shock you.

Which cities have downloaded the app the most so far?

Banu Guler: New York and LA.