Feb 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Headspace raises $93 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Meditation app maker Headspace has raised $53 million in new equity funding and another $40 million in debt.

Bottom line: Headpsace will use some of the proceeds to differentiate itself from rivals, via the development of a new product that will focus on mental health tools for patients with certain chronic diseases.

  • Blisce led the equity tranche, and was joined by Waverley Capital and Times Bridge.
  • Pacific Western Bank provided the debt, which Headspace raised to give it a bigger financial cushion (without additional dilution) as it works on Headspace Health, which may take a long time because of clinical research lifecycles.

Meditation app-makers continue to face questions about their effectiveness, particularly when used by employers as a substitute for addressing core causes of workplace stress.

But clearly there's a market appetite, as Headspace CEO Rich Pierson says the company's consumer business is profitable and that its enterprise business has doubled in revenue every year.

  • Its app has been downloaded more than 62 million times in 190 countries, and has more than 2 million paid subscribers, and 600 employers signed up.

The bottom line: “What we’re trying to do is ask people to spend time on our product,” says Pierson. “There are only so many minutes in the day where people are willing to give you their attention.”

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Employers struggle to handle mental illness

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Reported mental illnesses are more common among young people than other generations, and employers are struggling to figure out how to accommodate their young employees' mental health issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: These young workers grew up receiving accommodations in school that helped them manage their mental health, but the laws — and pressures — around employment are different.

Go deeperArrowFeb 13, 2020 - Health

Scoop: Snapchat's new wellness push

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Snapchat is launching a new set of tools and custom content around mental health and wellness, sources tell Axios. One tool includes a search function that surfaces health and wellness resources on topics including depression, suicide and anxiety.

Why it matters: It's the first product launch around what will be a bigger health and wellness push from Snapchat that will be rolled out in the next few months.

Finger pointing continues over Iowa app fiasco

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's been two days since app problems delayed returns and cast a stain on the Iowa caucus, but the blame game continues.

Why it matters: So far, two things seem pretty clear. It's not a good idea to rely on an app as the primary means of tabulating election results, and the app used in Iowa was also pretty bad.