Are you feeling stressed out at work? Do you feel like your job just doesn't give you the peace of mind you need? Calm can help. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this brand, including how the founders helped make mediation mainstream.
Can a mobile app make you feel better? Can it boost your mood and reduce your stress levels? Alex Tew and Micheal Acton Smith believe it can. They created the Calm app to help users improve their overall mental health. And with in-app purchases exceeding $20 million in Q4 2022, Calm seems to be on the right track.
Keep reading to learn how Tew and Acton Smith turned the meditation industry upside-down and grew this business to $2 billion.
Plus, find out how you can build your own million-dollar brand for FREE!
|May 4, 2012
|Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith
|Type of Business:
|Meditation, Sleep, and Relaxation App
What is Calm?
According to Merriam-Webster, calm means "a state of tranquility." And Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith sought to bring this relaxing state of mind to the masses. The duo paired up to launch what would become the highest-grossing mediation app worldwide.
Calm is a meditation, sleep, and relaxation company that allows users to access mindfulness tools and lessons on their mobile devices.
Who founded Calm?
Alex Tew's first company was The Million Dollar Homepage, which earned him over $1 million in only five months. He was 21 at the time.
What is Calm's origin story?
A busy entrepreneur, Michael Acton Smith found himself struggling with burnout and stress. One of his close friends, Alex Tew, recommended meditation, but Acton Smith turned his nose up at the idea. He told Inc. Magazine, "Ten minutes of meditation? I could get another six emails out! I saw it as a little woo-woo."
But Tew viewed things from a different perspective. He practiced mindfulness meditation regularly and noticed it helped him feel calmer, focused, and happier. Tew toyed with creating a mediation-based website but didn't have enough money to make it a reality.
Eventually, Acton Smith came around to mediation once he discovered the proven science behind it. And he saw an opportunity to share it with the world. In a USC interview, Acton Smith revealed that people were experiencing peak levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. He and Tew wanted to help.
Michael Acton Smith explained in a YouTube video, "The human brain is the most complex thing in the universe. Yet, it doesn't come with an instruction manual."
In 2012, Acton Smith and Tew launched Calm and became co-CEOs. It gave users the tools to control their thoughts and achieve true mindfulness. The app rose in popularity over the years, surpassing 100 million downloads and over 1.5 million 5-star reviews.
What is Calm's valuation?
How was Calm funded?
In 2014, the company raised $578K in a seed funding round. But to scale, the business needed more capital. But Tew and Acton Smith faced a harsh reality: Getting funding was a challenging task. "The bridge between Seed money and a Series A took years and years," Michael Acton Smith explained in a YouTube interview.
In 2018, the app raised $27 million in a Series A round. The company was experiencing tremendous growth at the time, with over 50,000 new member sign-ups daily.
To date, Calm has raised $218 million across eight funding rounds.
What lessons can entrepreneurs take from Calm's brand story?
Believe in Your Vision
A brand is only as strong as its founder's vision. Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew knew how meditation improved their lives. Now it was their mission to convince others. As Acton Smith recalls, "When we started out, people didn't really understand meditation and what we were trying to do with Calm, so it was hard for people to take us seriously and hop on board. But we believed in it, and that was the main thing."
Reevaluate Your Pricing
Calm's revenue comes from subscriptions. Initially, premium subscriptions cost $10 per year. But that price wasn't profitable. Today, users pay $69.99 annually to unlock all paid content. Acton Smith advises, "If you're creating something great, don't be afraid to charge for it."
Look After Yourself
Most importantly, Acton Smith wants you to look after yourself. It's a lesson he learned from his previous companies. He says, "As entrepreneurs, we obsess over looking over our teams. We spend so much money and time looking at our metrics. But what's the most important part of a business? It's ourselves. If that piece of the puzzle is not happy and healthy, the whole thing starts to crumble."
Let's answer all your questions about this popular calming app.
What is Calm?
Calm helps users practice mindfulness, feel more relaxed, and enjoy better sleep. It is a popular Health & Fitness app.
How can I access the Calm website?
Does Calm offer audio or video content?
It offers both! And Tamara Levitt narrates many of the guided meditations.
How long has Calm been around?
Calm launched in 2012.
What are the subscription options for Calm?
The Calm app is free to download. The free version limits users to select timed mediations, one breathing exercise, and one sleep story.
Those looking to take full advantage of Calm's mindfulness offerings must sign up for a paid subscription. Calm Premium features:
- Daily Calm meditation
- Calm Masterclasses
- Calm Body programs
- Guided meditations
- Exclusive music
- Extensive Sleep Story library
How do I download the Calm app?
Apple users can download Calm in the App Store, where it's listed as the "#1 app for sleep and mediation."
It's also available for download in the Google Play store.
What type of customer service does Calm offer?
Calm responds to customer service and technical support inquiries via email. Communicating this way allows staff to send detailed troubleshooting guides and step-by-step instructions. The company doesn't offer phone support.
After seeing the positive effect meditation had on their own lives, Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith knew they had to share it with the world. And with their determination, hard work, and clear vision, they grew Calm from zero to $2 billion.
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