Bertrand: It’s called CircleIt. How does it work?
Shaikh: So it works in a very simple, traditional manner – how we have always done so. What I did is when we started building CircleIt, we imagined building cards, doing exactly what my father did.
So he created cards for his kids. He wrote in – and he attached pictures too in certain ones.
He put money in there and in certain ones, he asked for me to add flowers to that on his behalf, exactly how it works. You come in and you pick a card for your loved one for any holiday or any occasion, and you decide when this thing unlocks to them. Five years from now, 10 years from now, or 50 years from now, the technology will do this.
Bertrand: And is it all done digitally? Or you can send physical flowers as well as a physical card?
Shaikh: Absolutely. It’s, again, replicating every aspect of my dad. So it’s now going it’s going to allow delivering flowers, handwritten letters from from the grandfather. There is an amazing opportunity in that – or what the world is asking for for us to do for them.
Bertrand: Yeah, it’s – it’s a sweet you know, I mean, Art have people… the first reaction that I had was it’s not that I laughed at it, but I thought, wow, who wants to hear from someone from beyond the grave? But then when you hear your story and think of the possibilities, it’s kind of an amazing thing. Have people laughed it off at first?
Shaikh: No, I, I, I tell you this, that we’ve been building this thing for three years now and through the years with everyone that understood what we were doing, they, they, they are evangelists of CircleIt. We have very passionate folks because they know the problem we are solving for them. So it’s with those people’s support. We can’t fail.
Bertrand: So the gifts. Part of it is going to be up and running next month, correct?
Shaikh: You’re right.
Bertrand: OK, and so what do people do now if they want to be part of this? They go to App Store?
Shaikh: So, we are listed in the App Store and Google Play. They are able to download the technology and be able to activate that in a very easy to use manner guided way in two minutes.
Bertrand: And how does it feel to have created, in a way, something that was a dream of your dad’s?
Shaikh: Ah, it’s it’s it’s a really emotional mission. Great that we have taken on. I never grew up thinking I’m going to start a company and build something that millions of people will have on their phone. And so that’s very powerful. But it has been really humbling, just learning every other person who is trying to solve this problem for their own loved ones. So I just feel very grateful that the world is understanding what my dad was doing back in 2012.
Bertrand: Well, good for you, Art Shaikh. The name of the app and the company is called CircleIt. It’s one word, C-I-R-C-L-E-I-T. Thank you for joining us today.
Shaikh: Thank you so much.
Bertrand: You’re listening to Chicago’s Afternoon News. Here’s Mary.