Circles announces it has raised a new $8 million seed funding round to expand its one-of-a-kind emotional support platform. Circles is built on the core principle that in order to overcome life’s challenges, such as the loss of a loved one, parenting or divorce, you need to be heard and supported by people who actually understand what you’re going through.
Despite growing global understanding that mental wellness is a critical part of overall health, there are few options outside of expensive psychotherapy for people seeking support. Circles provides an alternative solution for anyone to receive and provide emotional support based on shared life experiences. Research has shown that developing meaningful connections in group settings is key to overcoming life’s obstacles, such as divorce and separation or cancer.
“We all go through issues in our lives where we need someone to talk to. But not every challenge requires therapy and, more importantly, sometimes the best way to feel better is to surround yourself with people who actually understand you in a truly empathetic way,” said Irad Eichler, founder and CEO of Circles. “This desire to connect with others who are going through the same challenges often means we wind up on Facebook groups or these other unstructured online forums, but those outlets don’t enable the types of meaningful connections needed to help people feel better. With Circles, people never have to face their struggles alone.”
By leveraging proprietary technology and the expertise of an experienced leadership team that specializes in mental wellbeing, the unique Circles platform enables meaningful connections and establishes supportive communities that are led by professional facilitators and built on mutual care. The platform matches groups of 6-8 people who are facing similar issues in their lives in intimate and private emotional support sessions where they can be understood in a way never before possible online. By surrounding users with safe, structured communities, Circles enables people to share freely in order to feel better together.
“Circles has the potential to completely change the world for the better. Mental health and emotional wellbeing are so critical but before Circles, most people couldn’t access support options that would work for them,” said Gigi Levy-Weiss, General Partner at NFX. “By combining truly innovative technology with a model built on research, Circles solves this problem. It is an honor to partner with Irad and the team to help take Circles to the next level.”
“Over the last year and a half, there has been a sharp increase in anxiety and emotional distress due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing millions of people to seek help and relief,” said Sergey Gribov, Partner at Flint Capital. “The power of Circles is that it makes emotional health accessible to anyone, anywhere and it’s as easy as simply opening an app.”
Just months after its soft launch, the Circles platform has matched thousands of people facing similar challenges and facilitated more than 100,000 hours of support. The company is currently focused on providing group support for people experiencing struggles with grief, relationships and separation or divorce.
The new round of funding, which was led by NFX and Flint Capital with participation from Sir Ronald Cohen, Jeff Swartz and others, will help Circles continue scaling and developing new technology. Circles will use the new funding to expand into new support services for people struggling with other personal challenges, including LGBTQ issues and those suffering with disease or caring for a sick loved one.
Circles was founded in 2020 by Eichler and Dan Landa, who serves as the company’s CRO and was previously a senior marketing lead at Google. Eichler has built a career based on helping others and founded Circles after watching his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer, find comfort connecting with other patients. He previously also founded the Shekulo Tov Group in 2004, which supports people with mental health issues and developmental disabilities. The organization, which has helped find employment for thousands of people, has been recognized by the U.N. & the World Economic Forum for supporting people with mental health issues or developmental disabilities.
Circles is a revolutionary emotional support platform that ensures no one has to overcome life’s challenges alone. Circles enables people to be heard, understood and supported by others who are going through the same issues in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one, parenting issues or divorce. By connecting users in safe, intimate and private groups led by professional facilitators, Circles helps people heal.
Circles groups meet live for 60-minute video meetings and also have the ability to message via online chat at any time. Circles users can also access personalized content, including self-help exercises, blogs and webinars, all at no extra cost. To learn more about Circles or to sign up for a free trial, visit circlesup.com.