Finnish tech start-up Pieni piiri (known as Circly in English-speaking markets), is known as the ‘Skype for grannies’ app. Today, the start-up announced it’s pivot to become a provider of digitalised elderly care services. To fund the growth of its new business, the company has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Invesdor.
Pieni piiri launched in 2010, when founder Matti Kari noticed that her recently widowed grandmother didn’t have enough friends and contacts, even though she was healthy and fit enough to socialise. Kari realised that this wasn’t just an issue facing his grandmother, but a larger generational problem as more elders report feeling lonely and isolated in their golden years.
Pieni piiri’s business builds on its original ‘granny-proof’ tablet application. The app can be used to make digital services accessible to elderly end users without any previous IT skills. The application is used by a number of health and care organisations, including the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), Mainio Vire, and the Finnish cities of Vantaa and Kotka.
“We found out that most care organisations are unable to reshape the ways they work,” says Mikko Järvinen, CEO of Pieni piiri. “To overcome this issue, we’ve decided to build our own 100 per cent digital elderly care organisation.” The company has a goal to serve thousands of elderly customers by 2020.
By building the new digital service organisation, Pieni piiri will pivot from their software-focussed business towards digital elderly care services to address other issues the demographic faces. The initial market focus will be in Finnish home care, but the company aims to expand to other markets as it grows.
The crowdfunding round has been open to the public for a week now, and has raised €40,000. Pieni piiri’s target to raise at least €100,000 is to invest in the company’s sales and marketing efforts for the new model.
“I believe we can truly be the change we want to see. At the same time, we can save money from our public health care system and, by means of our digital community, improve the quality of life of the elderly,” says Matti Kari, the founder of the company. According to the company’s estimates, the technology can save customers up to 52 per cent on home visits.
“Digitalisation is coming to all industries, and virtual home care visits are a great example of how digitalisation of elderly care services can both reduce the costs of providing the services as well as making them more accessible by eliminating costly logistics. Pieni piiri is doing in elderly care what we at Invesdor is doing in finance, and we are happy to be able to help,” says Invesdor’s Mikko Savolainen.
The Finnish fintech platform has invested €26.62 million to date in 169 companies, mostly in the Nordic market.