Get online recommendations from friends.

When your competition is labeled a “billion-dollar bully extortionist,” you have to believe there’s a market for your alternative.

Introducing Sircles, the alternative to Yelp, and the brainchild of John Worthington, Todd Fiore and Danny Hinkle, the Sacramento team behind Tech 2U, which launched in 2003 and now operates 12 locations in California and Nevada.

“We spent lots of time managing our online reputation and wondering why there wasn’t a better way for people to get recommendations from friends instead of relying on reviews from strangers,” says Hinkle, Sircles’ COO. “We sensed a need for something that could be a much more positive experience, for businesses and users.”

That idea came to fruition in February when Sircles launched as a free mobile app that allows friends to share recommendations—not reviews—with each other. The idea was people would connect through the app and follow each other—thus becoming “friends”—to make recommendations about great restaurants, entertainment, professional services and more.

The app has been opened more than 2 million times since launching, and businesses are lining up to help promote it. Unlike Yelp, it’s the businesses that have the power over the content on the page, and they’re only mentioned if someone likes or favorites them. Sircle’s founders say it’s all about keeping things positive, because there’s enough toxicity online already.

So what about the name? Why “Sircles” and why with an “S?”

“We all have circles of friends, that was the inspiration for the name, but the whole app is also about sharing, which provided the ‘S’” Hinkle says, adding with a grin that “” wasn’t available anyway.

Future plans are simply to put Sircles in the hands of millions of users across the globe and “bring positivity to our digital world.” Amen. Learn more at or download the app and start sharing.