Startups of the week #16.1

While most social networking sites connect you to people you (might) know, CircleMe links you to new like-minded users and places, so you can rediscover yourself.

1. CircleMe

People you may know. People to follow. How many times have Facebook, Twitter and other social sites tried to connect you to more friends. Always more friends. It's as if you aren't using the platform properly unless you are constantly adding more people. The problem is that usually 'friends' are discovered through mutual connections and imported contact lists. While many people do find old friends this way, most of the time it is cluttered with people you definitely don't know or would rather not reconnect with.

So what defines friendship with others? Why do we like the people we do and why do we want to engage with them? More specifically, what defines us? What is it about our self that forms our personality and differentiates us from some, while attracting others. CircleMe believe that it is all down to what we like.

CircleMe was created by Cascaad, a company dedicated to making the social web more 'personal and relevant'. The 12 strong team based in Milan and London have currently raised $15.5million from Innogest Capital. The team includes founder Erik Lumer - who also co-founded Internet TV service BabelGum - and CEO of CircleMe Giuseppe D'Antionio, an ex-Googler and teacher of a digital communications class at the University of Milan.

By importing your 'likes' and information from Facebook, Netflix and FourSquare, CircleMe helps you connect with everything you like and, in turn, yourself. Your profile is not about what you say, who you know and what you look like but rather what you love. With this information, CircleMe can then point you to people with similar tastes to you, helping you discover new things to like, or 'Circle'.

You can also geolocate your Circles with the iPhone app [iTunes], showcasing where you like to read a certain book, listen to a favourite song or watch the best new movie. This also benefits the people who trust you as, when they pass that certain place, a 'Plant alert' will notify them that one of your Circles spots is near by.

We like the idea (geddit) but think the site is a bit complicated and note it doesn't have many users to date. However, with a bigger community, CircleMe could be the new way we discover everything we love.