Feeling stressed? Aren’t we all. It’s clear that mindfulness has grown out of its niche and is now well and truly mainstream. No longer fodder for those of the new-age persuasion, meditation and mindfulness are fast becoming leading extensions of the wellness industry – in fact, research from IBISWorld in 2015 shows that the mediation and mindfulness industries in the US made almost $1 billion.
And people know when to turn to mental wellness: guided-meditation app Calm had a sales spike of more than 50 per cent the week after the US presidential election.
The future might be vegan, but the present is mindful. Here are some of our favourite meditation and mindfulness start-ups that are making the best use of, and milking, this trend.
Raising US$30 million in 2015, this is one of the most popular meditation apps on the market, boasting 3 million users in over 150 countries. Leading users through guided meditation, while also covering the fundamentals of the practice, is the soothing voice of Andy Puddicombe, who’s also the app’s co-founder – the guy spent 10 years living as a Buddhist monk. So, you know you’re in safe hands.
Started by luxury clothing store Intermix’s founder Khajak Keledjian, New York-based mediation studio Inscape was drawing attention even before it opened in November last year.
“I was approached by people who don’t even know me,” Khajak explained of the 2014 article he wrote about mediation. “‘Where do you go?’ ‘How do you do it?’ Some recommendations worked, some didn’t, and I realised there’s a need for a concept like this that lives in the physical and the digital.” Now the space, located in the Flatiron district, caters to Wall Street bankers and entrepreneurs looking to escape from it all.
Sure, we love the meditation app (it’s specifically aimed at young people, for example) – but our favourite part about Australian not-for-profit start-up A Smiling Mind is its outreach program, which brings the conversation of mental health into the classrooms of students to understand and discuss first-hand. Touching on subjects like stress management, increased resilience and creativity, as well as better decision making and increasing contentment, it’s an indispensable part of the school curriculum.
If anyone knows stress, we’d say it’s a start-up owner. Entrepreneur Yunha Kim sold her previous project – a lockscreen app for Android called Locket – before moving onto Simple Habit, that allows users to choose simple guided meditations of just five minutes to squeeze into anyone’s busy day. You can make the meditations longer if you’ve got the time, and they’re also divided into helpful, relevant categories like stress, work, kindness and relationships.