Sleep Soundly with Calm: One-Way Ticket to a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep Soundly with Calm: One-Way Ticket to a Good Night’s Sleep
With overwhelming stress and anxiety, it is almost impossible to get a good night's worth of sleep. More than 7 million US citizens experience trouble either falling or staying asleep. A person needs their rest through the night, otherwise, grumpiness is lurking around the corner.
Sick of his troubles with their difficulties with sleep cycles, Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew took technology’s progress to another advantage. Sleep is the most cherished part of the day to many people, so the duo launched Calm in sunny California.
Calm is a company that improves mental wellbeing and treats long or short-term insomnia. Through guided meditation sessions, and sleep-provoking stories, Calm puts the resting factor on the extreme and helps several sleep-dwellers live happier lives.
To learn more about the detailed story of how Michael and Alex answered so many people’s demands for a good night snooze, continue reading below.
Michael Acton Smith was born in Marlow, the United Kingdom, in 1974. It seemed like Michael was born under a lucky star, as everyone expected that he would accomplish many things in life. Michael was a child of many talents. He was funny, charismatic, and caring. His parents regarded him as an imaginative child, with billions of ideas circling his mind. He had a broad fantasy and would make up stories to keep others entertained. By having people around him smiling, Michael would feel the happiest. His goal was to spread joy wherever he went, and this ambition guided him through life.
Alex Tew was born in Wiltshire, UK, in the early 1980s. He was regarded as the kid with billion-dollar ideas. His imagination and charisma were enough to get everyone to like him tremendously. Growing up, he experienced the best of both worlds. The crossover between the break of technology and the 90s was pivotal for Alex. It would later direct all his interest and attention towards surfing the web. Websites, computers, and emails were inexplicably extraordinary for young Alex, who would later dedicate his education towards computer sciences.
In 1993, Michael began his journey of a thousand miles towards accomplishing his dreams in entertainment. He enrolled at the University of Birmingham and studied until 1996. It was during this period that Michael developed his admiration towards the digital era. The newfound wonders of computers opened doors for many opportunities, and Michael will not be waiting patiently.
For Alex, growing up in England had its perks, as the country was not standing still while the world moved forward. His schooling days were not easy, to say the least. He was becoming more interested in running a business and this became his calling. When Alex turned 21, he enrolled at the University of Nottingham to study business management. However, Alex quickly realized that to finish his three-year course, he needed to provide a ton of money, something he sorely lacked at that moment.
In 1998, Michael decided to dip his toes into the entrepreneurship field, with his first-ever project – Firebox.com. This was Michael’s first attempt at business and it was a success. The company was a multiple-channel retailer that dealt with manufacturing, marketing, and retail of innovative devices, games, gifts, and many other sources of joy. Thanks to Michael’s first try at creating something that would make others smile, gamers could enjoy playing the Shot Glass Chess Set game. This was a chess game with a twist. The booze comes along with it.
Alex, however, after a year and a half at the university, already fell behind on his dues. The significant issue was the lack of money, but his determination not to accept it as a problem kicked in. His how-to-get-rich-quick plans were slowly becoming unbearable. He did not want to convert to fit what society required. He would not play by the rules and think outside the box instead.
Claim The World
In 2005, Alex thought of a million-dollar idea – the famous Million Dollar Homepage. Alex’s brilliant idea would bring in the check he so desired. The Million Dollar HomePage was a website that attempted and sold one million pixels on the homepage. The pixels were worth a dollar each and advertisers had to pay $100 for a 10x10 block of pixels.
By naming his website with ‘’million dollars’ instead of pounds, Alex knew that he would attract the US markets, and it catapulted it across the globe. It cost Alex only 50 euros to start a million-dollar website, thanks to the power of the internet.
Michael was busy during this period as well. He still had not created something that everyone would enjoy. His first project with Firebox.com was going smoothly when he decided to venture out into another field. In 2004, Michael launched another thrill-provoking company called Mind Candy. Firstly named Perplex City, it was a global treasure hunt with £100,000 buried somewhere across different media. Players could find their prizes on websites, text messages, skywriting, and even on helicopters.
Alex did not rest easy after his Million Dollar Homepage exploded. He was just getting used to being surrounded by influential people, and he experienced a lot of discrimination. Even though he had the idea and earned $500,000 in two months, it was still an ingenious idea. Not everyone approved of a million-dollar, simple idea. However, this did not stop Alex, as he continued to do more similar projects like Pixelotto, and Popjam, in 2008.
Change the World
In 2007, Michael decided to pay one last homage to the child within when he launched a whole new online world for children, called Moshi Monsters. Moshi Monsters today is a very popular game amongst children, and their merchandise is sold across the globe. Toys, magazines, video games, 5-minute music albums, books, and cards, children in the UK had a lot going for them.
Before these two accomplished superstars crossed paths, they had a lot of character building to do. Alex and Michael met at a press conference when Michael noticed that Alex was unmoved by the company. Even though he was hounded by a journalist, he kept calm. They met and hit it off at once. One admired the other and their creative input on business, so they decided to shake hands and work together. Their next project truly mirrored the way they felt. They wanted their project to help other people, so Michael and Alex decided to launch Calm.com in 2012. The app, which was available on all devices, produces meditation products, guided sessions, book readings, narration by different celebrities, and healthy benefits videos. Calm’s goal is to put insomnia to rest, and users could do so through the app’s meditation tools and sleep aids.
The company was met with a bit of distrust at the beginning, but users quickly realized that the app can only help them sleep better. However, because Michael and Alex were already established entrepreneurs, the idea of a calmness app grew on people quickly. This was proven in 2013 when Calm raised $450,000 in a funding round from angel investors.
Claim the Mind
In 2014, the duo placed Tamara Levitt as their Head of Mindfulness, as her voice was heard through most of the sleep guides. She was their first primary narrator.
In 2016, Calm announced that they would be expanding their portfolio with 23 sleep stories, aiming to help adults with insomnia issues. The year before, Calm marked another successful milestone when they reached 2 million downloads worldwide. This was astonishing, to say the least, and it pleased the founders, as their app obtained a greater cause.
In 2015, Calm won a British competition which led to launching the first ‘’Slow TV Ad’’. This was also when Michael decided to publish a book based on Calm, called Claim the Mind, Change the World. The book was published in 20 countries.
In 2017, Calm was still booming on the market, as the company raised $22 million in revenue. They reached an annual revenue run rate of $75 million. It later raised another $1.5 million from angel investors.
Calm was also nominated and won the App of The Year award from Apple in 2017. Calm was regarded as being one of the fastest-rising newborn companies in America.
Keep Calm & Snooze On
Calm today has more than 101 employees who work tirelessly on producing new sleepy content for exhausted listeners. The company’s headquarters are in San Francisco, California, and have onboarded over 38 investors.
Before reaching stardom, Calm had to make a name for itself, because the market has already been claimed by competitors like Headspace, Meditopia, and My Life, among others.
From their last calculations in 2019, it was estimated that Calm is valued at $1 billion and has raised $116 million with many contributions from existing investors such as Sound Ventures, Venture Partners, and the Creative Artists Agency.
Calm today has hundreds of narrated stories, including recordings of Bob Ross, LeBron James, Kate Winslet, and many more celebs. The app also offers calming classical music from Johannes Brahms, Moby, Deadmau5, etc. Calm had the goal to turn everyone’s phone into a portable sanctuary, ready to cater to the user’s sleep needs. The two creatives spent their whole lives, trying to make ends meet for themselves, but also others.
Thanks to Calm, there are a lot more rested, smiling people and thus many healthier lives! Say goodbye to your nightmares and hello to sweet calming dreams!