Between individual therapy and free online forums, people are looking for a range of mental health therapy solutions online. Especially since the pandemic has increased anxiety and depression by 25% worldwide (according to the WHO) and has also worsened an epidemic of loneliness.
Players in the online group emotional support space include Pace (which raised $14.9 million), Grouport ($1.5 million), and Quilt.
Circles, an online group emotional support platform, joined the fray in 2020 and today raised $16.5 million in a Series A round led by Zeev Ventures. Also in attendance were Uber Freight head Lior Ron, as well as existing investors NFX, Flint Capital and Sir Ronald Cohen.
With Circles, subscribers talk about life’s challenges such as divorce, grief and infertility, meeting weekly via group video chat to give and receive emotional support. Circles says the process is guided by “trained and vetted” mental health professionals.
Circles claims it bridges the market gap between “therapy and Facebook groups” by combining professionals with the support of peers going through the same experiences, and is also available on an app, which likely helps with user retention .
Irad Eichler, co-founder of Circles, said in a statement, “With this new round of funding, we will strengthen our matching technology to match more accurately, increasing each group’s predisposition to success.”
Eichler previously founded “Shekulo Tov”, a non-profit organization that helps the mentally handicapped integrate into society. He claims that 70-75% of Circles members use the platform at least once a week and 30% use it daily.
“Circles fills a gap in the market with the powerful yet simple principle of human connection. Powered by leadership with a proven track record in successful social impact initiatives, Circles has positioned itself to be a market leader,” commented Oren Zeev, of Zeev Ventures.