LOS ANGELES — Andy Puddicombe, a trained Buddhist monk, wants to spread health and happiness by teaching our technology-addled minds to slow down and live in the moment.

Naturally, he’s doing it through an app.

In just a few short minutes a day, users can listen to meditation guides for topics as varied as anxiety and relationships narrated by Puddicombe in his British voice.

“This exercise isn’t about getting rid of thoughts, it’s more about learning how to be at ease with them,” he says reassuringly in one of the 10-minute recordings.

Animations, videos and articles round out the experience – all in the pursuit of mindfulness, an increasingly fashionable discipline buoyed by technology that’s weaved its way through corporate America, Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Headspace is now one of the most buzzed-about startups in where else but Los Angeles’ Venice, a neighborhood that evokes equal parts New Age hippie and Tesla-driving techie.


The company with the bite-sized path to enlightenment raised $30 million in September through the Chernin Group, a Los Angeles entertainment firm.

Headspace also counts celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson and Zach Braff among its fans.

Part of the appeal is Headspace’s everyman accessibility. Puddicombe takes the chanting, incense and robes out of meditation. He and his business partner – fellow Brit and fellow surfer, Rich Pierson – like to stress they’re just regular “blokes.”

Meditation is for anyone, they say, and subscribing to Headspace should be no different than buying a gym membership for the mind.

“We go to the gym to be more active in life in just the same way we meditate; so we can be more mindful and more present and enjoy our life a little bit more,” said Puddicombe, 43.

Downloads of the app have quadrupled in the last 12 months to 5 million, though the company declined to say how many of those include paying subscribers with full access to the program.

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