Calm (company)

Calm (company)

A health technology start-up based in San Francisco. It was founded in 2012 by Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith and produces a mobile application for sleep, relaxation, and meditation.

Calm is a San Francisco-based mobile application company that provides wellness services which are aimed to help users manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. The app can be accessed via mobile application or website and includes meditations, bedtime stories, music, sounds that play the noise of scenic places, videos for wellness and stretches, and master classes.


Users can download the app for free and have access to a limited amount of the app's services. If they want to upgrade to a premium account, they can have a free one-week trial of the app and then it can be bought with various plans depending on the duration of the desired plan. 


Calm has various meditation topics that users can choose. Topics include but are not limited to sleep, anxiety, beginners, self-care, inner peace, and relationships. There are also meditations for children ages three to 17. Premium users have access to a special mediation that is updated daily. 

Sleep Stories

Calm provides Sleep Stories, which are tales read by well-known voices such as Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, Leona Lewis, and Bob Ross. The stories are intended to help people fall into a deep sleep and cover stories such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lost Grimm Fairy Tale. 

Music and Scenes

The music feature on the app is focused around music that can calm or focus the user. Users can pick songs from categories such as sleep, soundscapes, lullabies, and focus. Songs can include nature sounds and white noise. The music varies in length and can last anywhere between three minutes up to an hour or more. 

There is also a scenes feature that plays the sounds that one may hear in different scenes from around the world. Some scenes include "fireplace", where users can hear the low crackle of a fire; "tropical beach", where users can hear waves crashing on the shore; and "summer meadow", where users can hear insects chirping and birds in the distance. 

Calm Body

Calm Body includes guided video lessons of gentle stretching and mindful movement claimed to release tension and recharge the mind. Videos cover stretches that can be done in the morning, at night, and before or after a workout. There is also an introduction video that explains this feature of the app.

Master Class

The Master Class feature in intended to teach the user about specific wellness topics through several videos on the app. The leaders of the master classes are experts in their fields, ranging from clinical psychologists to NBA stars to award-winning authors. 


Calm is partnered with XpresSpa at major US airports, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport. Users can go to XpresSpa and receive a free luggage tag and ten minute relaxation lounger massage by showing their app to one of the store's employees. Calm products are available at XpresSpa for purchase as well.

Additional Products

Outside of digital offerings, the company sells a sleep mist designed to spray on a pillow to accompany the bedtime story. A book called “Calm” was published by co-founder Michael Acton Smith in 2016 and he told CNBC that other physical products such as books, clothing and potentially a Calm Hotel were part of the company’s vision. 


Calm offers a discount of 50% to companies that would like to provide the app to their teams. A company, organization, or group of five or more individuals can purchase the app by selecting the number of people who will be using it. Calm will send a landing page to the company, which can then send it to the team and use the subscription for one year. 

There is also an initiative called "Calm Health", which is intended to be used by healthcare practitioners and their clients. It consists of a free subscription for one year for the practitioner and a one month premium trail for their clients. It is available to doctors, dentists, psychologist, and other professionals in the health field. Healthcare practitioners can fill out a form online to sign up for the service and receive more information.

The Calm Schools Initiative allows for any teacher anywhere in the world to access the app for free and share it in their classrooms. The stated goal of this initiative is to onboard 100,000 schools in 2019, intending to reach one million students. Teachers can have access to Calm's expanding children's mediation library and other wellness tools. In order to become a part of this initiative, teachers can visit the company's website and fill out a form. Upon completion and submission of the form, the teacher will be contacted by Calm for further instructions regarding the onboarding process.


July 1, 2019

Calm raises $27 million more in Series B extension round

The company raised an additional $27 million from Lightspeed.

February 6, 2019

Calm Raises $88M and becomes a unicorn

Calm raises $88 million in a Series B financing, valuing the company at $1 billion USD. The funding round was led by TPG Growth and also included participation from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and previous investors Insight Venture Partners and Sound Ventures. The round at the time brought the total funding to $116M.

February 2019

Calm raises a $88,000,000 series B round from Insight Venture Partners, TPG Growth, Sound Ventures and CAA.

March 26, 2018

$25 million+ is invested in Calm

Insight Venture Partners invests more than $25 million into the company.


Apple names Calm as Best of 2018

The app is named as one of the best self-care mobile applications. 


Calm is named App of the Year 2017

Apple names the app the 2017 iPhone app of the year.

June 18, 2014

$578,000 is raised in a seed round

Calm raises more than half a million dollars from investors such as Angellist. 

February 26, 2013

Calm raises $465,000 in a seed round

The company raises almost half a million dollars from investors such as Tabreez Verjee.

February 26, 2013

Calm raises a $415,000 seed round from Andy McLoughlin, Steve Pankhurst, Joe Greenstein and Kirill Makharinsky.

May 4, 2012

Calm is founded

Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith found the company.


Calm was founded by Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith.

Funding rounds



Aaron Hirschhorn


Adam Mosam


Adam Wildavsky


Alex Ikonn


Alex Lyashok


Alex Moskalyuk


Alex Tew


Alexander Will

Chief Strategy Officer

Amit Khanna


Andre Carothers


Andrew Crichton


Andy Jagoe


Andy McLoughlin


Anson Whitmer


Ashees Jain


Barrie Heptonstall


Bart Lorang


Ben Dowling


Bill Sheppard


Bob Haya


Brad Feld


Bradley Caldwell


Brent Vincent


Carl Fritjofsson


Casey McKerchie

VP Operations

Further reading


Are AI fairytales the future?

BBC News


April 18, 2018

Can't Sleep? Let Bob Ross Help You Find Some Happy Little Zzzs

Laura M. Holson


June 12, 2018

Michael Acton Smith: 'We want to show meditation is common sense'

Ian Tucker


October 8, 2017

Documentaries, videos and podcasts


Join The Calm Team

May 21, 2019

Relaxation app Calm raises $88 million, valuing it $1 billion

February 6, 2019

This meditation app tells bedtime stories to those in need of shut-eye

August 31, 2018




Eric Peckham
February 4, 2020
Mental wellness unicorn Calm has more than two million subscribers to its mindfulness and meditation app, raising over $140 million in funding to bring "mental fitness" practices into the daily lives of mainstream consumers. Anchored in a range of audio courses, the company has expanded to video and even book publishing. Co-founders and co-CEOs Michael [...]
Reuters Editorial
November 14, 2019
Calm and considered, incoming BHP Group Ltd chief executive Mike Henry is seen as a safe pair of hands to steer the world's largest mining company through what he says are uncertain times.
Virginia Heffernan
October 22, 2019
When the cracks in the facade begin to show, just keep calm and consider supply and demand.
Josh Constine
July 1, 2019
Meditation app unicorn Calm wants you to doze off to the dulcet tones of actor Matthew McConaughey's southern drawl or writer Stephen Fry's English accent. Calm's Sleep Stories feature that launched last year is a hit, with more than 150 million listens from its 2 million paid subscribers and 50 million downloads. While lots of [...]
June 28, 2019
The former hot-headed international tennis legend and three time Wimbledon singles champion, John McEnroe, has teamed up with American Express, as part of the brand's partnership with The Championships, 2019, to create a Sleep Story with the sleep and meditation app Calm, to help soothe tennis fans' nerves. The Sleep Story comes as research, commissioned by American Express, reveals that watching a nail-biting tennis match can increase feelings of tension by as much as 50%; with over thre...
March 5, 2019
Samsung Electronics today announced the company is working with Calm, the number 1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation with over 40 million downloads1, giving consumers seamless access to the service via Samsung Health. The move reinforces Samsung's commitment to working with best-in-class health and wellness organizations to improve users' entire wellbeing - mentally and physically. "Our work with Calm is going to make it easier than ever for Samsung Health users to practice mindful...
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BBC News
Self-care apps aim to reduce anxiety and stress and improve our sleep patterns. But do they work?