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Y Combinator-backed mindfulness app Simple Habit raises $2.5 million

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Mindfulness app Simple Habit was built to help users relieve stress and build healthier lives with more than 1,000 guided meditation sessions available to users. To continue growing, the company has raised $2.5 million from investors that include New Enterprise Associates, Fabrice Grinda’s FJ Labs, Foundation Capital, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Gusto CEO Josh Reeves.

Simple Habit founder Yunha Kim got into meditation after burning out at her last startup, Locket. That company sold to mobile shopping app Wish a couple of years ago, and Kim spent the next half year trying a variety of techniques for stress and anxiety relief.

She settled on meditation as being most effective for her, and started building a service that would allow anyone to take a few minutes out of their day to meditate.

Since then, the idea behind Simple Habit and the underlying platform has grown. Rather than provide a one-size-fits-all guided meditation service, Simple Habit seeks to provide a wide range of sessions that focus on when, where and why its users might want to take a meditation break.

There are more than 1,000 sessions available in the app, including those for when someone is “Feeling Under The Weather,” when they need “Sleep Therapy,” when they need a better “Start to the Day” or even just the popular “Meditation for Engineers.” Behind those sessions are a group of independent mindfulness teachers who guide users through the short audio sessions.

Simple Habit runs on a subscription model, charging $11.99 a month or $99 a year for premium access to its entire inventory of guided meditation sessions. And it shares its revenue with the mindfulness teachers who provide the content, splitting things based on the popularity of their sessions.

After trying to build an advertising-based business with Locket, Kim said it was important to monetize early and build a scalable business model from the start. At the same time, she was a little surprised by how much interest they got early on. Originally started as a side project while Kim was in business school, it grew quickly enough that she decided to postpone her studies and take it on full-time.

“One thing we’ve learned is that people are really interested in investing in mindfulness,” she told me.

With the funding, Kim plans to expand the company’s engineering team and work on adding new features to its service. Now available on iOS, Android and the Web, Simple Habit is looking to add more content and provide the ability to download sessions and meditate while offline, and to also provide more personalization and recommendations to users.