A series of tragedies led Andy Puddicombe to take a dramatic turn in his life.
When he was 22 years old, Puddicombe was out of a London bar with a group of friends when a drunk driver ran over them. Mat to two of them.
A few months later, his stepsister died in an accident while riding his bicycle and then an ex-girlfriend died during the surgery.
At that time, Puddicombe was studying a degree in sports science but in the midst of pain I decided to leave everything, travel to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk.
He spent the next ten years as a monk, traveling through Asia and meditating up to 16 hours per day.
Richard Pierson (left) and Andy Puddicombe created an application to meditate
Andy Puddicombe says the meditation helped him accept everything.
"It gave me a change of perspective. It taught me to focus less on myself and to give more happiness to others," says this Briton who is now 46 years old.
However, his friends and family were a little worried.
"None of them really knew what to do. But in spite of everything, they were incredibly understanding and encouraging," he adds.
In 2005, Puddicombe returned to the United Kingdom and established a meditation business, but at that time it was still not a highly valued practice in his home country.
"Some people became disillusioned or saw it as something 'hippie'," he says. "It was quite inaccessible. People didn't have time for that, nor did they know how to do it."
In any case, Puddicombe started his business as a small private practice in London, teaching professionals with burnout and work stress how to use meditation to help them in their daily lives.
Currently, he and his partner Richard Pierson, 38, manage the popular
Headspace meditation application, which with more than 54 million downloads worldwide has annual revenues that, they say, exceed US $ 100 million.
How the idea came up
Richard Pierson is the executive director, while Andy Puddicombe is the voice of the application
In 2005, Pierson was one of the professionals with those problems who took an appointment with Puddicombe.
After finishing college, Pierson had gone to work in the advertising industry in London. And he had risen quickly. But that escalation took its toll.
"When I met Andy I was quite desperate," says Pierson. "I had social anxiety and dealing with it was a challenge. I didn't have a group of friends with whom I could talk about these pressures," he says.
"After the first session, I realized how many thoughts I had in my head and how well my life was. It seemed exciting to me that there was a way."
Once Pierson realized how much he had benefited from the meditation, I decided that he wanted to do business with Puddicombe, to help others know what this technique was about.
"It was an exchange of skills," says Pierson.
"He taught me to meditate and I came up with a lot of ideas about how to make it more visible. I just thought it was a shame that I was alone in a room," he says.
By 2010, they were already doing events throughout the United Kingdom, where they talked about the benefits of meditation and even held group sessions.
With the money raised in the talks and the help of friends, they created the first version of their application
Headspace that year.
There, users can choose from a series of guided 10-minute meditations and subscription to the application costs about $ 12 per month.
"In the first few days we were only us, nobody gave us money for what we do favors for all our friends," Puddicombe describes who is the voice that appears in the application.
"One of our friends lent us a recording studio and another an office. Some people really believe in what we were doing and accepted salary cuts to come to work for us, we are very grateful for that now," he says.
Moving and roles
Headspace has a modern headquarters in Los Angeles
In 2013, the partners decided to move and move the business from London to Los Angeles, where their headquarters are located since then.
"We both dream of living in California and having a more outdoor lifestyle. We love to go surfing and hiking, and it is also suitable for our families," he adds.
Headspace began investing since 2014 to expand the application and business. Now more than 75 million dollars of external financing are secured, but Puddicombe and Pierson still have a majority stake.
At the beginning of the business both were involved in everything. But as they began to grow they assumed different roles. Pierson became the executive director, observing the management and general operation of the entire company and its 300 employees.
While Puddicombe's main job is to focus on expanding the application and being the voice. But does anyone recognize her?
"There are people who recognize my voice in an airport or in a restaurant," he says.
Neil Seligman, author of books on meditation, says that Headspace has "led the revolution of mindfulness in the digital space."
"The genius of Headspace was to take something as difficult as teaching mindfulness meditation and divide it into videos, audios and short practices that are easy to understand," he adds.
"This is how they transformed the industry and entered the global market," he says.
But Headspace is not just an application.
The company has more than 300 large clients, such as Google, LinkedIn, General Electric and Unilever, and there they help managers and staff to meditate.
He also works with US universities, including Harvard and Stanford, and the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, in studies on the benefits of health meditation.
Andy Puddicombe still meditates every day, although less than the 16 hours that room does. Richard Pierson also makes time for that.
"We both practice meditation every day," says Pierson. "We really believe in that and it is important that the team and anyone who downloads the application knows it."
(tagsToTranslate) A Buddhist exmonje created a meditation app worth 100 million dollars – LA NACION