Calm, the popular meditation app that was named Apple’s 2017 App of the Year, recently raised $88 million in a Series B round of funding at a valuation of $1 billion. This makes Calm the first “unicorn” startup focused on meditation.
The $88 million round of funding was led by TPG Growth with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Sound Ventures (the venture capital firm founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary) also participated in this round. Including this round, Calm has raised $116 million total.
Launched in 2012, Calm has a goal of helping users relax in times of anxiety and stress. Calm features “Sleep Stories” where subscribers dealing with insomnia can listen to bedtime stories read out loud by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Bob Ross, Stephen Fry, and Leona Lewis. Along with meditation training, the Calm app also features soothing sounds like rain and white noise.
“This financing will accelerate our mission to make the world healthier and happier, with international growth and an increased investment in content being top priorities,” said Alex Tew (Calm co-founder and co-CEO) in a press release. “We are excited to be working with an incredible partner in TPG for this new phase of Calm’s journey.”
Tew and Smith came up with the idea for Calm while they were sharing a house in London, according to Crunchbase. And they practiced meditation for years. Tew is an Internet company veteran as he was the mastermind behind The Million Dollar Homepage back in 2005. And while they were sharing a house, Smith was operating a gaming company called Mind Candy and he was dealing with a lot of pressure. That is when the two of them decided to start making meditation more accessible in the 21st century.
Calm now has 50 employees, up from 20 a year ago and 9 two years ago. Calm recently launched in Germany and Latin America. And the company is going to expand more this year.
And Calm has been resonating with users as it has more than 1 million paying subscribers and 40 million downloads worldwide. Plus a new user is joining the service every second.
In terms of revenue, Calm is on track to hit $150 million in 2019. This is up from $80 million in 2018 and $20 million in 2017. And the company has been cash-flow positive for several years now.
“Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century. Health and wellness is a $4 trillion industry and we believe there is a big opportunity to build the leading company in this fast growing and important space,” added Michael Acton Smith (Calm co-founder and co-CEO).
Last year, Calm invested $3 million in XpresSpa — which is a walk-in spa that is found in a number of airports. Plus Calm also signed partnerships with companies like American Airlines, Uber, and Sonos.
“Calm is changing the way people think about their health and their mindset, responding to a global demand for wellness solutions,” explained TPG partner David Trujillo. “Calm stands out for its potential to succeed in a rapidly expanding health and wellness industry, and we’re excited about their prospects for growth.”