The World's Most Innovative Companies 2017
Headspace is a mindfulness company that provides guided and unguided meditations to users through its website and app. With a reported 500,000 subscribers and 12 million downloads as of February 2017, the app is consistently among the top-rated health-and-fitness offerings in the Apple App Store. Its aim is to remove the intimidation factor for meditation beginners with an easy-to-use interface, inviting animations, and how-to guides covering everything from sleep issues to relationship problems. Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk who founded Headspace in 2010 with Rich Pierson, is the voice of the app: He guides users through their meditations with his relaxed British accent, offering tips and advice along the way.
Pierson and Puddicombe believe meditation is the key to a happier, healthier life, and founded Headspace with the goal of making mindfulness a mainstream concept. To that end, the company launched a surprising ad campaign in 2016 that targeted exercise aficionados; it even ran spots during NFL and NBA games. A handful of collegiate and professional sports teams, including the L.A. Lakers, the New York Knicks, and the Washington Redskins, reportedly use Headspace, and the app unveiled a new sports-themed pack of guided meditations in 2016. A partnership with Spotify that allows for bundled subscriptions rolled out in late 2016, bringing Headspace to a younger audience. The company also partnered with seven airlines to create in-flight Headspace content which, when fully rolled out in 2017, will reach some 750 million airline passengers. Phone-booth-size relaxation “pods” are slated to arrive in airports and other high-traffic, high-stress areas.
In 2017, Headspace will launch a fully redesigned version of its app, featuring more flexibility for users and more opportunities for community engagement. The company is also producing more content to distribute both within and outside of its app, including mini-documentaries on subjects like the history and science of meditation, as well as short profiles of interesting Headspace users. A national ad campaign is also on the way, as well as a series of live events featuring Puddicombe that the founders hope will foster a sense of community among its users.