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Venture Spotlight: Circle

published January 31, 2017

 

 

Just before Christmas we launched Circle – the London safety app!

Circle was developed by Xantura and is part of our London Ventures portfolio, which means we think it can help boroughs improve service delivery and achieve better outcomes for Londoners

 

So what’s it all about?

Circle supports women’s safety across the capital, helping residents stay safe and connected with friends and family through a load of handy features. Check out Hannah Witton’s vlog for a demo of how the app works, as well as a rundown of her favourite places to eat and drink in London.

The really exciting thing is that Circle was designed to be used by boroughs to promote safety messages to their residents and embed safe behaviours. Cllr Lib Peck, London Councils’ executive member for crime and public protection, said that:

‘‘Women’s safety is an issue at the top of the agenda for boroughs.  Circle is an innovative, accessible and user-friendly app which will reinforce the work already being done by councils to keep their residents safe.”

Although we’re focusing on women here, Circle can be used with all residents and in a wide range of scenarios wherever you are and whatever you’re doing in the city.

 

We spoke to Wajid Shafiq, CEO of Xantura, about Circle:

How did you get involved with London Ventures?

''Xantura’s strategic aim is to help our clients make better use of technology to support vulnerable citizens, particularly the most at risk. To be successful we need to engage with senior stakeholders in ambitious, forward thinking organisations and London Ventures has helped us by facilitating discussions with the right people''.

What do you think is Circle’s unique selling point?

''Although there are lots of safety apps out there, Circle is the only app that connects public sector / 3rd sector assets with people wherever they are, when they need them. It connects people with their Councils and allows Councils to push out important safety messages to its residents to help keep them safe''.  

Why is Circle an exciting opportunity for London local authorities?

''Circle is a pan-London platform that enables councils to proactively support the personal safety of their residents.  London Local Authorities can communicate with their residents and offer safety information in a non-intrusive, helpful way. Xantura are excited to have worked with London Ventures on this and other projects''.

 

Why you should get involved

While there are other apps that do similar things, Circle has been specifically designed with speed and confidentially in mind, your phone doesn’t store any outgoing messages, plus it’s targeted at supporting London residents.

It presents an exciting opportunity for London boroughs to:

  • Promote safe behaviours to residents through push notifications. These can be tailored, such as sending messages out on Friday nights to encourage responsible drinking or to only take licensed cabs.

  • Promote and upload Safe Spots.

  • See patterns which allows for better deployment of resources.

  • Utilise the app internally e.g. for outreach staff to let colleagues know they are safe when out and about.

 

Circle in a nutshell

It’s really easy to use, letting you add contacts and send messages to your network at the touch of a button. Circle uses GPS so you can check-in with your friends, either broadcasting your own location to let them know you’re safe or requesting theirs (always handy for that one friend who wanders off on a night out). The ‘interrupt me’ and ‘collect me’ buttons are especially good when you want a quick, no-fuss way of extricating yourself from, for example, a particularly bad date or need a bit of help getting home. It’s packed with other useful resources too like emergency contact numbers and directions to your nearest Safe Spots - public places certified by police, with staff trained to help – so it really has thought of everything.

 

Find out more… you know you want to

If you want to get involved with Circle as a borough, contact Wajid Shafiq (Wajid.Shafiq@xantura.com) or Lisa Henry (lisa.henry@londoncouncils.gov.uk).

Have a look at what else Xantura have developed and other innovative products in our portfolio on our current ventures page.