River is a content discovery platform that distills the internet. River instantly organizes everything people are talking about online–from sports to science, in the Times and on Twitter–into a personalized stream of bite-sized, shareable stories that gets better as you use it. Below is our recent interview with Jeremy Fisher, Co-founder and CEO of River:
Q: Can you provide a brief overview of River?
A: Leveraging cutting-edge content understanding (what’s it about, who created it, how does it fit into the broader landscape) and personalization technology, River works without requiring user accounts, friending, following, or access to past online activity, allowing users to preserve anonymity, escape their bubble, and discover a broad range of perspectives.
Q: How did the idea behind River come about?
A: Our founding team has been building technology companies in New York for more than a decade. Prior to River, our company Wander pioneered the 24-hour sharing format called Days, which we now know as Stories.
We had been discussing the future of Stories and content discovery for a long time. As a team, we realized there was an opportunity to reimagine how we discover content. Along with Lev Brie (CTO, previously founder of a contextual algorithm company), Leland Maschmeyer (Head of Design, previously co-founder of the design consultancy, Collins, responsible for global rebrands of Instagram, Spotify, and Dropbox, among others), and the rest of our incredible team, we’ve built a platform and technology from the ground up that makes discovery instant, anonymous, and personalized.
Q: Who would be your ideal user and why?
A: While we originally designed River for a younger demographic–Gen Z and Millennials–we received extremely positive feedback throughout our beta testing from a much broader group than anticipated. Specifically, many over the age of 50 found River to be an easier, more streamlined way to stay informed than social media. River users don’t need to make an account or follow anyone to discover the content they are looking for, which removes a critical barrier to entry.
Q: What advantage does River have over its competitors?
A: River works without requiring user accounts, connection to a social graph, or access to past online activity. It’s also the first platform that includes, and is able to evaluate across, disparate types of content (e.g. tweets, websites, YouTube videos) and publishers (e.g. professional media, independent journalists, user-generated content). Our users preserve anonymity, escape their bubble, and discover a much broader range of topics and credible perspectives than in similar apps.
Where traditional search engines push us to settle for a single perspective and social platforms push us deeper into our own bubbles, River encourages people to discover a broad range of credible perspectives from across the internet.
Q: What can we expect from River in the future?
A: We’re focused on building a product that people love and a world-class team. We will keep expanding the types of content featured within River and further improve our technology to surface increasingly timely and relevant results across all different media types.