After experiencing the effects of meditation firsthand, these co-founders wanted to bring mindfulness to the masses. This guide will teach you everything you want to know about Headspace, from the brand's self-funded roots to its 10-figure merger.
What happens when a former Buddhist monk and a marketing guru cross paths? They combine forces to build one of the best-known meditation and mindfulness apps on the market. From $0 to $3 billion, here's how this unlikely duo created Headspace and made meditation accessible from your fingertips.
Plus, discover how YOU can learn to start a million-dollar brand for FREE!
|Founders:||Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson|
|Type of Business:||Mindfulness and Meditation App|
What is Headspace?
What is the app? It's a subscription-based mobile app that provides guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and other courses to help you relax. You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play. There are over 600,000 Headspace app reviews.
Who founded Headspace?
What is Headspace's origin story?
Andy Puddicombe was no stranger to meditation. While in his twenties, he abruptly left university to study meditation in the Himalayas. He became a Tibetan Buddhist monk and traveled the world for ten years.
But Puddicombe decided to return to lay life and teach meditation to as many people as possible.
Meanwhile, Richard Pierson's career at a large ad agency left him feeling burnt out. He quit to become a freelancer, but severe anxiety held him back. A friend urged Pierson to attend a meditation clinic led by Puddicombe.
Once he experienced the power of meditation, Pierson knew he wanted to continue practicing it. He made a deal to give Puddicombe marketing advice in exchange for one-on-one mindfulness training.
The duo combined their talents to begin a meditation event business. They named their new company Headspace. Pierson's father funded the new startup with £50,000 in capital. But they didn't make the best use of the money. "Of the £50,000, we spend £20,000 of it on physical collateral to give out at the events," Pierson revealed in an NPR interview.
Puddicombe and Pierson continue hosting events across the UK. But they wanted to make meditation accessible to everyone. And they wanted it to be fun. They built the app with a library of 10-minute guided meditations. The first version launched in January 2012.
The app took off, and as of 2023, the company boasts over 70 million users across 190 countries.
How was Headspace funded?
It was mostly self-funded at first. Puddicombe told the BBC, "In the early days, it was just us. No one would give us any more money, so we'd just ask for favors from all our friends. One of our friends gave us a recording studio for free. And another [gave] an office for free. Some people really believed in what we were doing and took pay cuts to work for us. We're so grateful for that now."
Since gaining traction, the company has raised $215.9 million across 11 funding rounds, including:
- Debt Financing (September 2014)
- Angel Round (November 2014)
- Series A (September 2015)
- Series B (June 2017)
- Series C (September 2019)
- Series C (February 2020)
- Debt Financing (February 2020)
- Series C (June 2020)
- Venture Round (April 2021)
- Secondary Market (October 2021)
What made Headspace grow?
It adopted technology to gamify meditation and bring it to the masses. Its growth strategy includes:
- Regularly releasing new content in the Headspace library
- Partnering with large corporations to expand its user base
- Merging with Ginger to form Headspace Health
What is Headspace's valuation?
In 2021, the company merged with Ginger to form a comprehensive mental health service. Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger, said, "Through this merger, we can uniquely tackle the full spectrum of mental health needs—from prevention to clinical care—all from one integrated platform."
Under the deal, the two companies became Headspace Health with a reported $3 billion valuation.
What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from the Headspace brand story?
This business grew from a self-funded startup to a global brand worth $3 billion. Here are some key takeaways for entrepreneurs:
Keep It Simple and Straightforward
Consumers don't want to waste time trying to make sense of a brand's offerings. They desire simplicity and accessibility. Headspace made meditation approachable for everyone with a user-friendly app.
Stay in Perpetual Motion
The most successful entrepreneurs look for ways to evolve and expand. This company never stops moving forward. The brand continually adds more content and adapts to the needs of its growing customer base.
Expand Your Reach
Look for new ways to find and approach your target customer. Corporate partnerships have introduced Headspace to an even larger audience.
What services does Headspace offer?
The Headspace Library features over 500 Headspace meditations and mindfulness tools designed to reduce stress, increase focus, and boost mood. Services include:
- Over 40 themed meditation courses
- One-off mindfulness exercises
- Sleep by Headspace
- Headspace Move Mode
- Wake Up
- Focus Mode
How does Headspace compare to other meditation apps?
A New York Times review named it the best meditation app and felt it was easier to navigate than Calm.
Here's how the two compare:
- Both feature a library of guided meditations.
- Headspace features more meditation options, in general.
- Calm has more free-form meditations.
- Calm offers some free content, while Headspace does not.
- Both Headspace and Calm cost $69.99 yearly.
What is the cost of a Headspace subscription?
They offer three basic plans: Monthly, Annual, and Family. The Family plan lets you add up to six accounts. Here's the cost breakdown for each:
- Monthly: $12.99 billed per month
- Annual: $69.99 billed per year
- Family: $99.99 billed per year
Does Headspace offer free meditation content?
What kind of discounts does Headspace offer?
Headspace doesn't have any specific discounts. But it does offer specialty plans. Teens and educators can use Headspace for free. Students enrolled in a university or post-secondary program only pay $9.99 per month.
Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson knew how much meditation changed their lives and sought to bring it to everyone. They founded Headspace to teach the world about mindfulness, and their decision to turn it into an app grew the brand into a 10-figure meditation empire.
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