Investors not unfamiliar with religion-based applications, tools, and groups, For example, Pray.com, a Los Angeles-based app for daily prayer and nighttime Bible readings, has garnered at least $34 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins. Insight Partners paid $1.4 billion for Ministry Businesses, a nine-year-old Knoxville, Tennessee-based company that currently encompasses dozens of software and payment brands dedicated to faith-based organizations (which is reportedly now looking to flip it).
Faith-based apps and communities, fuelled by a pandemic that forced churches to close, are expanding faster than ever — the most popular, Bible app, is already on more than 400 million smartphones globally — and gaining greater attention as a consequence. Glorify, a two-year-old, 60-person subscription-based “well-being” app that provides users guided meditation, audio bible readings, and Christian music, is the most recent of them. SoftBank Latin America Fund, K5 Global, and a large list of celebrities, including Kris Jenner, Corey Gamble, Michael Ovitz, Jason Derulo, and Michael Bublé, all contributed to the $40 million Series a fundraising round lead by Andreessen Horowitz.
We spoke with Ed Beccle, the business’s 22-year-old co-founder and co-CEO, who claims to spend up to a third of his time in So Paulo and just sold his prior company for a “multimillion-dollar” exit. He claims to have dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to focus on his business. Unsurprisingly, he outlined a vision that goes much beyond meditation and Bible readings throughout our chat. He also gave a glimpse into the process of bringing together affluent celebrities and startup companies. The following are excerpts from that conversation, which have been minimally modified for brevity.
EB: I believe it is a mix of the two. You are young and doing fascinating things, [and] may be making more money than typical people your age, it is difficult not to get philosophical. ‘Well, I can afford all the Ubers and Uber Eats in the world, and I don’t really spend any other money,’ I thought to myself. I do not have a mortgage or any other financial obligations. ‘What would I do if I had the power to accomplish anything?'[The answer] has always been to work on technology that alters people’s perceptions and feelings.
That is something I am a little fascinated with… Now, I have never been more proud of anything in my life than this firm, which is so much more than a corporation. I have approached it from a variety of perspectives, one of which is mostly emotional and based on my own religious views. Then there is this: It is a once-in-a-lifetime commercial chance. I believe it will be considerably larger than most people realize.