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Circly by Pieni piiri

Circly is the simplest and easiest social networking service connecting elderly people with their families, peers, and care professionals.
English | Finnish

Best mobile service for elderly in Finland 2014

Circly is the simplest and easiest social networking service connecting elderly people with their families, peers, and care professionals.

New lead investor 19.12.2014

lead-investor Maria Horelli-Rosenlew, Founder, Rosebud Ventures "High tech - high touch! Circly uses technology in an authentic way to increase the wellbeing for people – without the downside of technology overuse. The team has a positive, energetic and thorough way to develop and grow Circly, which inspires to invest in a cause that solves a great welfare problem."

Update 10.12.2014

We are positively surprised of the interest our crowdfunding campaign is getting, and have decided to post-pone the closing date to January 15th 2015.

How did the story of Circly start?

The story of Circly began in 2010, with a recently widowed grandmother.

Founder Matti Kari's granny was still in good physical condition, but Matti soon noticed that she was almost completely lacking in peer contacts. It was soon descovered that she wasn't the only one suffering from isolation and loneliness - up to 50% of the elderly receiving home care report feeling lonely in Finland and Sweden.

As one of the co-founders of IRC-Galleria, the first major social networking service in Finland, Matti had some experience on creating new friendships: There's actually 300.000 friends in Finland that have originally met online in IRC-Galleria.

Matti decided to apply the principles of social media to help his granny. However, there were some problems that had to be overcome. For example, his granny had never used a computer, and refused to learn how to use one. It seemed like both the service and the needed devices had to be much more easier to use than anything on the market.

The solution came in a form of the Circly, which enables practically anyone to interact with other people. This happens in form of video calls, making the most natural social interaction possible regardless of abilities. Each and every of us automatically responds to a face talking to you - it's within DNA.

Currently Circly is widely used in the Finnish health and social care services, mostly for elderly care, disabled customers and rehabilitation. We have found interested partners in Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland. We have a co-operation agreement in place with TeliaSonera, which helps us to deliver the Circly bundle in Finland and Sweden.

As Matti's granny said after first longer video call: "It actually felt like you were visiting me!" Her family caretakers currently perform daily check-ups using Circly, and she's also keeping it touch with her sister living elsewhere with it.

Now, we'd like to invite new partners for our upcoming journey.

Why should you participate?

With the current crowdfunding campaign, we are issuing B-series non-voting shares of Pieni piiri Oy. The issued shares provide shareholders no vote on corporate matters, such as election of the board of directors or mergers. The holders of B-series shares are normally entitled to dividends and other rights. Shareholders have the right to use the Circly service free of charge, now and later.

By purchasing shares you will:

  • Help Circly to achieve it's most important goal: To reduce the loneliness and improve the services of elderly people.
  • Get your share of appreciation and dividends of a growing software company.
  • Benefit of the service personally: The B-series shares give shareholders the right for private use of Circly application (benefit 4.95€ to 9.90€ per month).

Our new shareholders residing in Finland will receive an offer for pre-installed Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 tablet and Liikkuva netti Aito 4G Teho broadband plan. The preinstalled device, broadband plan and a tablet stand will be shipped to your home, or directly to your granny. The price for the package is 24.90 € per month (24 months contract).

How to participate?

It's easy to join the campaign, even if you hadn't done any crowdfunding investments before.

  1. Register as FundedByMe user via https://www.fundedbyme.com/en/accounts/register/
  2. After registering and logging in, push the green button on the right side of the page.
  3. Input your information and the amount you want to invest, ranging from 146 to 50,000 EUR.
  4. When the funding round has been completed, you will receive the subscription documents.
  5. We'll send you the offer regarding device and broadband in a few days time.

We are happy to answer your questions - you can ask us on this web page, or by contacting our customer service. Our customer service can be reached via +358 44 730 5303.

How is our business today?

Profitability right around the corner

Currently 99% of the revenue generated by Circly comes from Finnish social and health care providers. In the Finnish health care system, most of the care providers are publicly funded municipal organisations. In 2014 our customers include cities of Helsinki, Järvenpää, Kotka, Kuusamo, Salo, Sipoo, Tampere and Vantaa. The Health Care Districts of Uusimaa and South Carelia are also benefitting from Circly.

As a TeliaSonera reseller we are able to deliver a turn-key service to the social and healthcare service providers. In addition to our application and support services, we are delivering tablet computers, 4G broadband plans, pre installations and leasing if required.

During the first half of 2014 the revenue of Pieni piiri Oy was €178.000 euros and operating loss €10.000. Turnover has grown 270% since the previous half H2/2013. Our revenue estimate for 2014 is €300.000.

Benefit and joy

Our current customers use Circly to produce various care services to the their client's homes. Video calls are used for check-up visits, rehabilitation sessions, peer support, consultancy and emergency duty.

In addition to the professional care, Circly is used for personal communications. Our users have attended their granddaughters piano lessons in Brussels, met relatives for the first time in a decade, and got together for coffee. Some have found new life partners, and some have been rejected, too.

Our users are elderly people living in their homes, family caregivers, disabled people, and various rehabilitation clients. Limited skills and abilities make traditional computers or video conferencing solutions not suitable for them.

Ease of use and positive impact

Our users value the extreme simplicity of Circly. According to user research conducted by Metropolia in spring 2014, over 80% of our end users think that the service is easy to use. 70% of the users felt that the service has a positive impact to their lives.

Improved productivity and cost-efficiency has been a one motivator for increased use of technology in social and health care. According to the user research, we've been able to help our customers also on this field: Our professional users say they have been able to reduce physical visits and save time by using Circly.

Where do we want to go from here?

Market opportunity

Up to 30M (50%) of elderly Europeans experience loneliness, leading to functional decline and an increased risk of death. By reducing loneliness and improving services we can save billions for European healthcare systems, bring peace of mind to family members, and benefit and joy to the elderly.

Over 70% of the elderly Europeans do not use Internet or smart phones. Limited skills and complex devices are currently barring them from social media and other online services. Circly can effectively remove these barriers, and let elderly people enjoy the same benefits that younger generations do.

The ideal user persona for Circly is an elderly person living at home alone, having limited it-skills, experiencing loneliness and exclusion, and finding moving outside of home difficult. She can already be customers of home care, or turning to be customers in a few months. We estimate that there are over 300.000 people matching the description in Finland only, and the amount is rising within next 10 years.

Our solution and new features

Circly is the simplest and easiest to use social media service connecting elderly people with their families, peers, and care professionals. The communication is based on video calls and touch, making the most natural social interaction possible regardless of location or abilities.

Our main product is the the Circly bundle, including Samsung Tab, 4G broadband plan, and pre-installed Circly app. The bundle is running Circly in exclusive mode, so that OS, settings etc. are hidden from the elderly users - we take care of the technology by automatic upgrades and monitoring of the devices. We deliver the bundle in partnership with TeliaSonera in Finland (and soon in Sweden).

Based on customer feedback, we will be introducing new features in 2015:

  • Café Circly let's you meet new people, get introduced, spend time together
  • Calendar reminds you of important things: things to do, medicines to take
  • Nurse check-ups via video brings peace of mind to elderly and their families

Competition and our advantage

On main competition is the old way of doing things. In professional care, this means physical home visits and in some cases, enterprise level video conferencing. In personal use, Skype, Facetime, and even a regular phone can be considered as competition for Circly. However, most of our end users are either unable to use competing services or at least run in to trouble with software updates and other technical issues. Thus, our advantage relies on extreme simplicity, mobility, affordability and sociability.

Growth strategy

Our goal is to have hundreds of thousands elderly users, who meet people and enjoy various services on Circly. We want to reduce the loneliness and exclusion of elderly people, and on the other hand create new business opportunities for our partners in the elderly market segment. We aim to reach up to 20% of the potential on selected markets in five years.

Our growth strategy is to partnership with elderly care providers and carriers on selected markets. Elderly care providers have the motivation for cost-efficient services, and already have a pool of potential customers for Circly. Carriers can provide the devices and data plans required by Circly bundle, and have the motivation to gain new broadband customers from the sleeping elderly segment.

How does our timeline look?

  • Nov 2011 Operations started
  • Apr 2012 First customer delivery to Miina Sillanpään Säätiö
  • Nov 2012 €500k seed round (including Tekes) completed successfully
  • Mar 2013 Circly App was made available in iOS App and Google Play Store
  • Aug 2013 Pilot with over 200 customers started with city of Helsinki, municipality of Sipoo & Aspa palvelut Ltd.
  • Dec 2013 Circly App downloaded over 5.000 times globally
  • Mar 2014 Letter of Intent regarding Circly bundle offering with TeliaSonera
  • Aug 2014 Circly is used by 500 customers of 12 Finnish care providers
  • Oct 2014 EU-grant for developing Circly-based home care support service
  • Nov 2014 Awarded as the Best Mobile Service in Finland for the Elderly