Disrupting The Greeting Card & Memory Industry
CircleIt founder Art Shaikh recently sat down with Chicago Inno’s Jim Dallke to discuss CircleIt’s inspirations, it’s current progress, and where the futuristic app is heading in 2021 & beyond.
When Art Shaikh’s father died, he left his son with a box of gifts, photos, trinkets and other memories to share with his family. He also left a set of instructions for Shaikh to deliver messages and gifts to other members of the family, like flowers on his mother’s birthday and gifts for his niece on her wedding day.
Shaikh’s father set out to preserve his legacy, and to be a part of his family’s life long after he was gone.
To help more families curate those special moments, and allow those who’ve died to continue sharing messages with their loved ones, Shaikh created CircleIt, a platform that acts as a digital time capsule and a way to stay in touch with family in the future.
CircleIt, which launched last May, is an iOS and Android app that acts as a place for families to archive important photos, videos and voice recordings. Serving as a central communication platform for families, the app is designed to preserve your legacy and store memories to be enjoyed by future generations.
But it’s also intended as a way for the deceased to continue sending gifts and messages after they’ve passed. The app allows you to pre-schedule cards and messages to be delivered for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other milestones years—and even decades—in advance, Shaikh said.
“We’re the Hallmark for the 21st century,” he said.
Sending gifts and messages to loved ones from “beyond the grave” isn’t exactly new. Whether it’s a wife receiving flowers on Valentine’s Day each year after her husband’s passing, or a daughter getting flowers from her deceased father each year on her birthday, families have long looked for ways to connect with their loved ones after they’re gone.
With CircleIt, there’s now a centralized place for people to preserve their memories and facilitate gift and flower deliveries for years to come, Shaikh said, which is something you can’t find from traditional social media and other communication platforms.
“Every technology of today is bound by time. Everything is now now now. It’s for the likes,” he said. “There’s not a single technology out there that is there to actually persevere you for future generations.”
And while less than a year old, Shaikh said CircleIt is quickly gaining traction. It’s seen more than 800,000 people in over 160 countries use its app, and some of its YouTube videos have been seen over 1 million times. Shaikh expects CircleIt to hit 1 million users by the end of 2021.
The startup has raised $2 million to date, but Shaikh said the company is in the process of raising a $15 million Series A round, which is likely to close in the coming weeks. Shaikh previously worked at Salesforce, leaving the company in May to launch CircleIt full time. The startup currently has 17 employees.
The gifting feature of CircleIt’s app will officially kick off in March, and the startup expects to offer financial gifting by the end of the year, meaning people will be able to send money to loved ones on their birthdays, weddings and other special occasions.
The goal is to bring families together, and help preserve the memory and legacy of loved ones, Shaikh said.