A Finnish app being used by national social services to help fight loneliness amongst elderly people is seeking funding for a European expansion.
Circly was created by Matti Kari, as a way of keeping his recently widowed grandmother in contact with her family, peers and carers.
The app enables video calls through phones and tablets, to easily connect elderly people with both social and healthcare services, and their loved ones.
On the care side, Circly can be used for check-up visits, rehabilitation sessions, peer support consultancy and emergency duty.
The service is already being used by Finland’s social services and health care system – with 99% of their funding coming from these organisations.
It is used in cities including Helsinki, JÃ¤rvenpÃ¤Ã¤, Kotka and Kuusamo.
They also have an agreement with TeliaSonera – the largest network provider in Sweden and Finland – and in addition to their app they deliver tablets, 4G broadband plans, pre installations and leasing to social and healthcare service providers, if required.
Last month they received an EU grant to help develop this support system.
The app can also be used to keep elderly people in contact with their family and friends.
On their Funded By Me page, founder Matti Kari said:
“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.”
In the first half of 2014, Circly made €178,000 with an operating loss €10,000 – a 270% increase from the year before. Their revenue estimate for 2014 is €300,000.
Circly is looking for people to become shareholders, to help expand the service across Europe by partnering with other national healthcare and social systems.
Kari also told TechWeekEurope they are using the funds to “further develop our service to enable our users to find new friends — that is, the Tinder for grannies, and to explore new international markets.”
They are on course to close €50,000 in this round, having already raised over €18,000 from contributors in Finland, Sweden, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain.
Check out their page here.