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Simple Habit YCombinator Application

Simple Habit successful YCombinator application from 2017 winter batch (YC W17).

Simple Habit is the company behind the science-backed Sleep Reset…
Our mission is to increase the quality of people’s lives by helping people sleep better and reduce stress & anxiety. To see our open roles, visit Simple Habit has 2 products: 1. Sleep Reset is the world’s first digital, personalized sleep clinic, available in a convenient mobile app. Our expert-designed program improves sleep and reduces sleep anxiety with the most effective methods from top-tier sleep clinics, including strategies based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) – available for the first time from the comfort of home. It’s a life-long, sustainable solution to sleep better in weeks, with no pills or melatonin needed – which means no grogginess, side effects, or dependency. 9 in 10 Sleep Reset members sleep better within weeks! To find out if Sleep Reset is a fit for you, take our expert-designed sleep assessment at 2. Simple Habit is an award-winning 5 minute mediation app for daily stress relief. The app boasts over 100K five-star reviews! With thousands of sessions created by hundreds of meditation teachers, therapists and executive coaches around the world, the app has meditations for a variety of situations and moods in your daily life — when you can’t sleep, morning anxiety, getting over a break up or even feeling nervous before an interview. iOS - Android - The company has raised $12.8 million from investors including Foundation Capital, Y Combinator, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and many other prominent CEOs in Silicon Valley including Dropbox’s CEO Drew Houston and Gusto’s CEO Joshua Reeves.
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Describe what your company does in 50 characters or less.

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5-minute meditation app. Spotify for meditation.

What is your company going to make? Please describe your product and what it does or will do.

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We built an iOS app that offers 5-minute meditations for life situations throughout the day. For example, meditations to reduce anxiety before a meeting, improve focus at work, and sleep better. Meditations are recorded by top meditation teachers from all over the world — we currently have over 100 teachers on our platform and are listened to by [redacted]. Our goal is to build the world's leading platform for mindfulness and meditation content. We want to help millions of people learn to live more mindfully and be more resilient.


How far along are you?

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I started the company in Feb 2016 and launched the iOS app in June 2016. In just 3 months, we are reaching close to 100K downloads on our iPhone app. 5% of sign-ups end up paying for a subscription that costs about $12 a month. [Redacted.] Our week-over-week growth rate is [redacted]. We are currently developing Android — expected release date for November. Simple Habit has already been featured by Apple 5 times and written about by media extensively.

How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?

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We've been working on the company for 8 months (since February 2016). We have ~40k lines of code for all our platforms combined.

How many active users or customers do you have? How many are paying? Who is paying you the most, and how much do they pay you?

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Since our launch in June 2016, we've had 85k sign ups. Our weekly [redacted].

We're interested in your revenue over the last several months. (Not cumulative and not GMV).

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We made [redacted] last month in September. We make [redacted] as of today, so we're expecting to make [redacted] in October.

What is your monthly growth rate?

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User growth rate was 95% last month ([redacted] MRR growth rate was [redacted]).


Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you're making?

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After graduating from Duke in 2011, I worked in investment banking and later founded my first startup, Locket (eventually I sold Locket to Wish). I raised $3m+ for the company and I became more stressed than ever. I tried lots of stress-relief products at the time: massages, lavender pillows, silent retreats and other meditation apps. Meditation worked best for me, and while I liked the meditation apps currently on the market, I didn't like how most apps were one teacher/personality based. I wanted to be able to browse through different types of teachers and teachings and make meditations bite-sized so busy professionals could use it. I built Simple Habit to really serve my needs. Since launch, we had thousands of users who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression tell us how our app has changed their lives. Check out our app store to see their raving reviews! meditations/id1093360165

What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?

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In contract to Headspace and Calm who have launched a single 'channel,' we're launching a marketplace — a platform for mindfulness, offering a continuously updated stream of meditation content from a variety of teachers. We're the first to create a meditation platform that curates content from hundreds of high-quality mindfulness professionals and charge subscriptions for access. We're also the first to introduce a Spotify-like business model to the meditation space. Mindfulness teachers are paid a portion of our subscription revenue commensurate to the number of times their content is listened to. Users get access to meditation content that is diverse in personality and topics. Silent retreats and in-person meditation studios are other alternatives, but they aren't accessible to all busy working professionals financially or temporally.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?

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There are two things that companies in our space don't get: 1) Our competitors don't get that users experience meditation fatigue from listening to the same voice/personality over and over again. In other words, they start to tune out. Imagine if Spotify or iTunes only carried one band. One's enjoyment of music would diminish over time. Similarly, the effectiveness of meditation on a listener diminishes over time as they get accustomed to the techniques and personality of the same meditation teacher. 2) Our competitors also don't understand that teachers can be a powerful channel for user acquisition. The key to developing this channel is to focus on creating a great experience for meditation teachers. This includes setting up the right financial incentive structure for teachers and building them tools that enable and encourage them to be an evangelist of Simple Habit.

How do or will you make money? How much could you make?

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In the US alone, 18M people are meditating (reported by Forbes), and this number keeps increasing every year. Capturing [redacted] of these users is a [redacted] business at our current subscription pricing. However, we consider this just the start of what we can do. According to research by IBISWorld, the meditation and mindfulness industry ranked in nearly $1 billion in 2015. The space is growing very rapidly. More than 22% of employers currently offer mindfulness training for their workforce. However, meditation and mindfulness is just the tip of an iceberg. We believe there are a LOT of ways to monetize a large audience of people who trust our company to guide their activities around their health. We'd like to take on larger market of mental health, stress relief and health & wellness which is a trillion dollar industry.


Have you taken any investment yet?

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After launch, I've taken on [redacted] additional investments into the company as a convertible note at a [redacted].


What convinced you to apply to Y Combinator? Did someone encourage you to apply? Have you been to any YC events?

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Y Combinator has an incredible network of entrepreneurs and mentors — many of whom have used Simple Habit and directly fall into our target audience. Being part of YC would be an impetus of growth in terms of learning from the community and attracting the best talent. I'm at Stanford GSB right now and I'd happily consider dropping out for YC.

How did you hear about Y Combinator?

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So many of my friends have gone through Y Combinator and they rave about it. Founders of Gusto, Flexport, Weave, Muse, Experiment, Tenjin, Innerspace, ProductHunt, Memebox.

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