Meditation app Headspace plans a tailor-made approach for India
The California-headquartered company hopes to capitalise on the country's rich culture of meditation, offering a digital alternative to a young market
Over the last few years, meditation has become serious businesses—several apps such as Calm, Inscape, Buddhify and Headspace are competing for users. Headspace, which has been downloaded 62 million times by users in 190 countries, launched French, German as well as Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese products in 2019. They are now eyeing an India launch. In an email interaction, Headspace co-founder Rich Pierson shares their plans for the Indian market. Edited excerpts:
Q. How did the idea behind Headspace come about?
When Headspace started in 2010, we were an events company, bringing meditation to the masses through a variety of events and sessions. We’ve seen such an exciting growth trajectory since then, thanks mostly to our app, which launched in 2012. Launching in new markets is simply a staging thing, and we have always sought to do this in a very thoughtful and considerate way.
Q. Your co-founder, Andy Puddicombe, spent time in India learning meditation. How much of a role did that play in the development of the Headspace product?
Andy spent 10 years traveling and studying with many great masters. He studied first as a lay-person and novice monk in the Burmese tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, before taking full-ordination in the Karma Kagyu lineage of the Tibetan tradition, with His Eminence Tai Situpa Rinpcohe, at Sherab Ling monastery in Bir, Himachal Pradesh. His monastic name was Karma Norbu Gyaltsen.After completing his monastic commitment in 2004, Andy returned to the UK with a huge-yet-simple goal in mind: To demystify meditation and mindfulness, and make them accessible to all. Soon after, while offering one-to-one meditation at a health clinic, we met and began a skill swap, where I offered him marketing advice for his clinic, and he taught me how to meditate.That exchange changed my life and I saw firsthand what a difference meditation could make if taught in a more accessible way. I have not missed a day of meditation since that first meeting. It felt only natural to want others to experience the benefits too, so we began working together on Headspace and launched the project officially in 2010.