Here’s the 17-slide presentation Circles used to raise $16.5 million for group counseling
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- Circles offers virtual group counseling for people going through challenges like grief and divorce.
- The mental-health startup landed $16.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Zeev Ventures.
- A $79 monthly subscription includes weekly meetings and asynchronous chat features.
Irad Eichler’s mother lived with cancer for seven years. Eichler, a serial entrepreneur, traded off time with his siblings to help care for her in between running his businesses.
He remembers that one day she told him she’d been feeling lonely, wishing for someone to talk to who could relate to what she was experiencing.
“People dealing with a life challenge or crisis like cancer, they feel that only other people dealing with the same challenge can really understand what they’re going through,” Eichler told Insider.
His mother died in 2014, and Eichler said the grief felt isolating. A few years later, in September 2019, it led him to create a startup called Circles to connect people with similar life circumstances for virtual group counseling.
Circles said on Tuesday it had raised $16.5 million in Series A funding, in a round led by Zeev Ventures with participation from Lior Ron, the head of Uber Freight, and its existing investors NFX, Flint Capital, and the venture capitalist Sir Ronald Cohen. The round brings the startup’s total funding to $24.5 million.
The New York-based startup, cofounded by Eichler and Dan Landa, its chief marketing officer, charges $79 a month per member for weekly group sessions led by a professional. Members can also connect with each other or the group facilitator throughout the week with the platform’s chat features and get access to personalized self-help content.
Eichler said that with nearly 700 groups now hosted on Circles, the startup’s membership has grown into the thousands. Users pay Circles for the services, but Eichler said the team is considering partnering with employers and health plans in the future.
Here’s the 17-slide presentation Circles used to raise $16.5 million in Series A funding
Circles provides virtual group-counseling sessions led by a professional to connect people struggling with similar challenges.
A subscription costs $79 a month and includes weekly group sessions, chats for members to message their group leader or each other in between meetings, and self-help content like blogs and webinars.
The startup runs close to 700 groups and employs 150 facilitators. Group leaders are paid a flat weekly rate and earn more if they can improve metrics like member retention.
Though its founders live in Israel, Circles is available only in the US. Sessions are hosted primarily in English, with a few groups communicating in Spanish.
Eichler said that when his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, she felt lonely without someone to talk to who could understand what she was going through. After her death in 2014, Eichler experienced that loneliness himself.
Circles sells its service directly to users. Eichler said that while the startup would keep that focus in the near future, its strategy would eventually expand to offer services through employers and health plans.
Circles offered only group sessions about grief at first, since “that’s the thing I know most about,” Eichler said. “Talking to other people validated what I felt and made me feel normal.”
The slide links to this video about a mother who joined Circles after the death of her daughter.