In 2004, Andy Puddicombe returned to London from a ten year expedition training as a Buddhist monk. Returning home, he established his own private meditation practice and in 2010 one of his clients, Richard Pierson (CEO), helped him establish Headspace.
Headspace was originally an events company, offering prospective clients a way to book Puddicombe. After several clients asked him for material to take come, the team (a few friends of Puddicombe and Pierson) built an app to fill that need.
The app originally came with a few offline sessions, which followed the classes conducted in London.
Puddicombe delivers the sessions in his soothing British voice, which is still the default male voice on Headspace. His appearances on Jimmy Fallon and his TED Talk have made him a key ambassador for mindfulness in the West.
The app quickly surpassed event bookings as the revenue driver for Headspace. It reached one million downloads in 2014, and received early praise from several celebrities, alongside partnerships with Virgin Atlantic and Harvard University.
Even with this growing interest in mindfulness, Headspace was still a rather niche company until 2018. In that year, it reached one million paid subscribers, a 50 percent surge over the previous year, alongside a growth in commercial clients, such as Google and LinkedIn.
As Headspace grew, so did its rival, Calm. Both built by UK entrepreneurs, Headspace and Calm are in what they describe as “mindful competition”. For the first few years, Headspace led the way, but after receiving the award for best iOS App in 2017, Calm has outpaced its rival in revenue and valuation.
Headspace also acquired Alpine.AI in 2018, which built interactive voice services for retail. It launched Headspace Health a few months later, a subsidiary aimed at embedding its design and philosophical approach to third-party medical devices and services.
Headspace has always been focused on meditation, with its exhaustive list of A-Z list of sessions. Courses for stress, anger, depression, work performance and even teaching kids how to meditate are all available on the app. Many courses are built within the three level framework: learn, practice and master.
However, in the past few years it has branched into other forms of wellness, such as adult sleeping, exercise routines and music playlists. It recently launched a podcast called Radio Headspace, in which Puddicombe discusses a few key questions from listeners.
Later this year, the BBC will debut a new show called Mindful Earth, which combines the BBC’s cinematography with Headspace’s wellness sessions. It will be available on the app later in the year.
We have collected data and statistics on Headspace’s revenue, usage and subscribers. Read on below to find out more about the app.
|Launch date||6 January 2012|
|HQ||Santa Monica, California|
|People||Richard Pierson (co-founder, CEO), Andy Puddicombe (co-founder), CeCe Morken (COO, President)|
|Industry||Meditation and wellness|
Headspace Total Raised
Note: Headspace did not publicise its valuation for its two funding rounds in 2020, perhaps due to not reaching ‘unicorn’ status, as its rival Calm did in 2019.
Headspace Paid Subscribers
Headspace Commercial Customers
Note: Commercial customers include Google, LinkedIn, Starbucks and Adobe. Businesses subsidise Headspace premium for their employees, so one customer could equate to thousands of users.
Headspace Total Downloads
Headspace Top Grossing iOS App Position
Headspace vs Calm: Revenue
Headspace other key stats
- Headspace generates more than $100 million in revenue per year from paid subscribers and businesses subsidizing employee subscriptions (NPR)
- 600 companies, including Google, LinkedIn, Starbucks, Adobe, General Electric and Turner, partner with Headspace (Marketwatch)
- In its last two funding rounds, Headspace refused to share its valuation. It is almost certainly more than its current $320 million valuation. Its rival, Calm, is valued at $1 billion (Business Insider)
- Headspace reached 65 million downloads in 2020 (Business of Apps) and is on track to hit 100 million by 2022
- Headspace is conducting over 70 clinical research studies, with academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University, and the UK’s National Health Service (Crunchbase)
- Usage demographics are evenly split between 18 to 65 year olds, gender is also a 50/50 split (Forbes, Jinhong Chen)
- Headspace employs over 350 people worldwide (LinkedIn)
- There is over 300 hours of guided meditation available on the app (Headspace)
- Headspace is available in over 190 countries, in five languages
- Headspace started with $50,000 Puddicombe and Pierson managed to wrangle from friends and family (Forbes)