Circles: Phoenix Moment
Sense of crisis...
We received the dreaded rejection email from YCombinator a few days after the interview. YC gave a very detailed feedback and we are extremely grateful for that. They raised some very fundamental questions about the problem we are trying to solve at Circles.
We weren't caught by surprise because we had been wondering about the same questions ourselves for a long time (too long, in fact) but nevertheless it made us think harder and realise the urgency of solving for these issues.
We have learnt in last few months that people (mostly close friends & family members) share cards with each other for multiple purposes:
- Save money aka avail instant discounts, get cash backs
- Earn rewards aka reward points in anticipation of liquidating it for something they like or find useful
- Some websites do not support different payment methods for e.g. International websites support only credit card payments, Subscription enabled only on credit cards
- Managing cashflow issues aka EMI payments, short term loans between friends, roommates and flatmates
- Buying things for other family members
Now it might seem like Circles is in the business of discounts but Abhiram and I very strongly believe that, as entrepreneurs, we do not want to spend 5 to 10 years of our lives building something which derives its value from discounts financed by other businesses or banks (also, moral grey area) which we can't control.
Don't always follow prescribed advice..
YC wants us to think through 1st principles (overused in general) and design a better rewards program, we do not doubt that it can't be done in a better way but it doesn't appeal to us. Why become one more company trying to push another credit/debit card and then try to make money via pushing credit?
So, what are we up to...
Instead what we notice is that finance is viewed in a very transactional fashion (debit and credit entries) but all these transactions involve a purpose, need, discussions and relationship between close friends and family.
We at Circles want to bridge the gap between relationships and finance. We are taking a step back and working out a plan to simplify the process and bring relationships into payments. Get ready for the next Circles launch, connect with your trusted ones, help your friends and family and vice versa.
Bonus for reaching the end of the blog...
We are making Circles invite only and our users will be able to save and earn at least 10X more than any other payments app. If you are curious to peek under the hood then please comment "#CirclesPeekaboo".