Family that formerly co-owned Toronto Star behind new social venture, Hvr Technologies

Hvr wants to create revenue sharing for bloggers, publishers.

Members of the family that formerly co-owned one of Canada’s most renowned newspapers have launched a company that creates a mobile browser allowing its users to mesh internet surfing and social media together.

The idea comes from two members of the Thall family. The latter co-owned Canada’s largest newspaper, The Toronto Star before its sale to NordStar Capital in 2020.

Hvr has raised $4 million CAD over several rounds of funding.

According to co-founder and CEO Nelson B. Thall, Hvr has raised $4 million CAD over several rounds of funding, including from money the Thall family invested themselves as well as from undisclosed investors and funds.

The Hvr Technologies’ app creates a curated web for users based on the people and sites they follow, and who are “sitepartners” with Hvr. The startup’s sitepartner program helps individual bloggers and larger web publishers monetize their audiences.

Hvr turns the sites of bloggers and publishers into a kind of Facebook-like experience, layering social media features on top of their sites. The features include home feeds, following others, and comment threads.

“The need to bounce between browsers and social apps is a thing of the past,” said Thall.

Hvr was founded in 2019, and currently has around 10 employees as well as numerous contractors. The other two co-founders are Henry Thall, director and COO, and Jesse Capon, director and CIO.

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Sitepartners earn recurring revenue and commissions on qualifying new Hvr user sign-ups, according to Hvr. The technology also enables sitepartners to include their RSS feed into Hvr, resulting in more frequent recommendations to users, the startup claims.

Hvr’s technology allows discussions to be layered directly on websites. The startup claims discussion results in more users to the websites, while bloggers and publishers receive notifications of any new comments on their pages.

Hvr has a revenue sharing plan. Bloggers and publishers earn 10 percent of all revenue earned on users they sign up, and 50 percent of all revenue from conversation layers, according to its website. As well, there are commissions for user sign-ups, and sitepartner sign-ups.

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Hvr also plans to launch an audio and video podcast to hold conversations with influential creators and brands.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“My experience in media and technology businesses, passion for the web and publishing is rooted in over 75 years of family history as owners of the Toronto Star newspaper,” Nelson wrote on LinkedIn. “Our mission is to grow the most useful, social, and profitable web platform for our users, publishers, and advertisers.”

Feature image by Mike Setchell via Unsplash.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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