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Israeli Online Support Group Platform Circles Raises $8 Million

Irad Eichler, founder and CEO of Circles (video screenshot)

Circles is an Israeli startup which offers a one-of-a-kind emotional support platform. The company has raised $8 million in seed funding, led by NFX and Flint Capital with participation from Sir Ronald Cohen, Jeff Swartz, and others.

Founded in 2020 by Irad Eichler and Dan Landa, who serves as the company’s CRO and was previously a senior marketing lead at Google, Circles is a digital platform that offers emotional support during times of need by connecting users with people going through a similarly hard time. Through small, secure online groups led by a professional therapist, users are surrounded by “care and support with the opportunity to find mutual relief and encouragement, develop coping skills, and build personal resilience.”
Circles says that it was built on the core principle that in order to overcome life’s challenges, such as the loss of a loved one, parenting or divorce, a person needs to be heard and supported by people who actually understand what you’re going through.

This is especially important these days with just about everyone under stress and other emotional concerns due to the continued Coronavirus epidemic. All that working from home, being cooped up inside all day, being separated from family and friends, and not to mention all those people who have lost their jobs, has created a worldwide pandemic of anxiety and depression as well.

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.

“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.”

“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.”

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