Calm.com, which makes an app that guides people through relaxation exercises and encourages users to breathe, has been valued at US$1 billion in a funding round led by TPG Growth, the start-up said on Wednesday. Calm raised US$88 million in the round, which included existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, as well as Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency. The new cash influx brings the start-up’s total money raised to US$116 million. The funding makes San Francisco-based Calm a major player in the wellness industry, which has drawn attention in recent years from investors as well as stressed-out users. Companies like mindfulness app Headspace Inc. and meditation wearable maker Muse have also raised money from VCs, though at lower valuations. Calm aims to help people tackle mental health issues such as anxiety and insomnia through mediation sessions, stretching tutorials and music. There are even bedtime stories on the app, including some read by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey. “Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century,” co-founder and co-chief executive Michael Acton Smith said in a statement. His co-founder and co-chief executive, Alex Tew, added that the company would prioritise spending on international growth and creating new content. Calm, which has 50 employees, said it is profitable and quadrupled its revenue in 2018, putting the company at a US$150 million annual revenue run rate. The app says it has more than 40 million downloads worldwide and “well over” 1 million paying subscribers. Some of Calm’s content is free, while some of it is available only to subscribers. More Americans are meditating than ever. About 14 per cent of adults said they meditated in 2017, a threefold increase from 4.1 per cent in 2012, according to a report from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Calm is the top grossing health and fitness app and 20th overall on iOS, according to App Annie, an app market data firm. Headspace is the seventh-highest grossing health and fitness app and 103rd overall on iOS, App Annie said.