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Matthew McConaughey is helping Calm users fall asleep. LeBron James is training their minds

The meditation app was downloaded 60 million times last year, with two new users joining almost every second.

Matthew McConaughey is helping Calm users fall asleep. LeBron James is training their minds
[Illustration: Franziska Barczyk]
THE WORLD’S 50 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES
34 Calm

The Calm app was downloaded 60 million times last year, with two new users joining almost every second. Despite this rapid growth, the company is staying Zen. After noticing in 2016 that many customers were listening to Calm in order to fall asleep, the company launched Sleep Stories: soporific bedtime tales for adults read by the likes of actors Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry and singer Leona Lewis. The feature has become so popular (last year it had more than 180 million listens from its 2 million subscribers, who pay $70 a year) that Calm expanded further into the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry, with self-improvement classes, stretching routines, and relaxing music. “We want to cover all aspects of mental fitness,” says cofounder and co-CEO Michael Acton Smith. In December, the company partnered with LeBron James to launch the “Train Your Mind” series, in which the basketball star shares motivational wisdom on such topics as managing emotions and preparing for a big game. “You go to the gym to get your body in shape,” says Acton Smith. “You can use Calm to get your mind in shape.”

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