The funding brings Calm to $116 million raised to date and values the company at $1 billion — making it a “unicorn” in Silicon Valley parlance. The funding round was led by venture-capital firm TPG Growth, with participation from CAA and existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Sound Ventures.
The San Francisco-based company claims it’s profitable and that its app has been downloaded over 40 million times worldwide. Calm says it has more than 1 million subscribers, who pay $60 per year or $300 for lifetime access. According to the company, it quadrupled revenue in 2018 and is currently on a $150 million annual revenue run rate.
What’s CAA’s interest in the startup? For one thing, Calm produces “Sleep Stories,” described as “bedtime stories for adults,” with original stories read by celebs and other personalities including Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry and Leona Lewis. (CAA reps McConaughey and Lewis.) Calm says “Sleep Stories” have topped more than 100 million listens to date.
The Calm subscription also includes more than 100 guided meditations covering anxiety, focus, stress, sleep, and relationships, as well as exclusive music tracks for de-stressing.
Calm was founded in 2012 by Michael Acton Smith, who previously founded Mind Candy (creators of the “Moshi Monsters” game), and Alex Tew, who had founded or co-founded tech ventures PopJam, Pixelotto and Million Dollar Homepage. The duo act as co-CEOs of the 50-employee company.
“This financing will accelerate our mission to make the world healthier and happier, with international growth and an increased investment in content being top priorities,” Tew said in a statement. Added Acton Smith, “Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century.”
CAA Ventures, the investment arm of CAA, has stakes in 36 companies. Companies in its investment portfolio include Beautylish, Beyond Games, Brandable, Crowdrise, Drone Racing League (DRL), Experiment 7, Genies, Giphy, Houseparty, Immersv, Medium, Mobcrush, Patreon, QuizUp, Rylo, Sliver.tv, Streamlabs, and thatgamecompany.