Circle with Disney is a device that helps parents enforce their family’s personal internet restrictions, and its developers, Circle Media, have just announced a total of $10 million dollars in Series A funding. Numerous similar devices are currently on the market; if you are wondering what sets this one apart, the answer can be found in the name: Disney.
The Portland based company’s device is designed to let parents better manage what content is being accessed on their home network, as well as set time restrictions. Many of its competitors offer similar capabilities. Torch is a specifically kid-friendly router, while routers like Orbi, Eero, and Luma offer parental control options. There are services and applications for this purpose as well, many produced by big name corporations: Google has Family Link, Amazon has FreeTime, and Comcast has their Xfinity xFi app. Given that Apple does not offer comprehensive parental controls as part of its iOS software, a substantial market for these devices and services is present.
Circle with Disney does have a few things that set it apart though. It has a system of rewards parents may set to give their children extra screen time for doing chores, as well as the ability to prevent teenagers from using distracting apps while operating motor vehicles. The primary difference between Circle and other parental control devices/apps is, of course, the Disney affiliation. The device boasts daily additions of Disney short form content such as “trailers, video clips, games, social media postings, GIFs, emojis, promos and more.”
Purchasers may also upgrade to a Circle Go subscription, extending the service to mobile devices.
Setting the system up on the iPhone adds complications though, and may disable or disrupt certain services. Circle Go will connect directly to a VPN, which may adversely affect such apps as Netflix, Pokemon Go, Hulu, Ticketmaster, iMessage, Snapchat, and Instagram. It also requires the user to set up a profile on their phone.
As to how Circle Media will be spending the $10 million in funding it has raised, Circle founder Jelani Memory said, “With our current headcount at about 30 people, we have plans to double that in the next 12 months across all departments, specifically in our development teams. We’ll also be continuing to work on new product offerings that will be debuted later this year, as well as scaling into additional regions across the globe. We have currently availability in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden and seek to expand that. We’ll also seek to deepen our marketing spend.”
Circle with Disney is sold for $99, and may be purchased from Amazon, Best Buy, Target, DisneyStore.com, Walmart, and Circle’s website. A Circle Go subscription will cost customers $9.95 per month.