Social purpose startup launches app

Ane Howard · January 5, 2015 · Short URL: breaks down social isolation

Can you imagine spending weeks on a train giving hugs to perfect strangers for the past six holiday seasons? That is exactly what Arie Moyal, soul and heart of HugTrain a Montreal-based social purpose startup, has done. And finally with the help of technology, he may no longer do it alone anymore. HugTrain app has been released less than an hour ago on Google Play with the tagline "Hug it forward." Technology used to enhance social circles is immensely popular, think of the success of online dating, meetup etc, but it hasn't quite been used in this way before. Not for hookups, group gathering but simply to experience a moment of elevated spirit and share it forward. To break down social isolation, one hug at a time.

The app works quite simply: create a profile, broadcast a hug offer or a hug request, connect with people nearby and Hug It Forward!

Arie told me during our phone interview, "HugTrain came together quite serendipitously:  Once I had decided to move to Europe, some time opened up for me to explore the U.S. by train, my favorite mode of transportation. When a woman I was connected to on Twitter cancelled her Global Hug Tour, I saw an opportunity to make a difference by adding hugs into my personal rail tour which was scheduled for the holiday season." HugTrain was born. And serenpidity is again at work. January 21 is Global Hug Day!

2014 ended on a bang for the social purpose startup and 2015 lookis quite promising. The startup was acquired by Yoel Moyal, a physician and Arie's brother. Doctor Moyal told me that  he hopped along on this journey deeply motivated  by a desire to develop,” Medtech that heals not only the body but also the soul and can  play a contributing role in breaking down social isolation."

What's the next stop?

Since its humble beginning, HugTrain has reached thousands, via hugs, social media and community efforts.  Now there's an app but that is not all. There's a documentary entirely filmed in December '14 during the HugTtrain's Canadian tour. Distribution is in discussion and the release date is expected to be in the spring of this year. A trailer can already be viewed on YouTube.

If you would like to find out what's the next HugTrain stop, visit the itinerary page.



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Ane Howard

I am a social journalist covering technology innovations and the founder of, an international newswire.

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