People nowadays are often so busy at work they don’t take enough breaks and ignore their own mental well-being. This inspired Yunha Kim to develop Simple Habit, an app to relieve stress with meditation. She pitched her business on Shark Tank but couldn’t reach a deal. As of 2023, Simple Habit is worth $12 million.
Yunha Kim’s Background
Yunha Kim is from San Francisco, California. She graduated from Duke University and interned at the United Nations and McKinsey & Company. Kim started her career as an investment banking analyst at Jefferies & Company.
Her first business venture in 2013 was co-founding the tech company Locket. Locket was an app that delivered targeted news to your lock screen. Kim served as the firm’s CEO for more than two years until it was acquired by Wish in 2015. While working, she got an MBA from Stanford University and the workload pushed her to find a way to de-stress after a long day.
Launching the App
In 2015, Yunha dropped out of grad school to start her second business, a meditation app for busy individuals. She sought out help from a Harvard psychologist while designing the app.
With this, her app was ready in 2016 and aims to improve people’s lives by promoting restful sleep and lowering stress levels. It is primarily aimed at young professionals who are overworked and in need of a soothing presence.
The app’s standard version is free, but to unlock enhanced features, users must pay $49 to $99 annually. On the night of its launch, 75,000 users signed up for the app and raised $2.8 million to fund its growth.
Shark Tank Pitch: A Heated Exchange
In 2017, Yunha Kim appeared on season 9 of Shark Tank, asking for $600,000 for 5%. As she begins her pitch, she invites the Sharks to take a moment of meditation. However, she didn’t expect what was coming next.
At this time, Simple Habit had 500,000 users and over 5,000 paid subscribers were bringing in $750,000 in annual recurring revenue. The business was growing 50% quarter over quarter and was well-funded. When Kim mentioned that only $500,000 of the $2.8 million of funding was used, things got heated.
The Sharks were baffled as to why she was raising more capital. Mark Cuban called her a “gold digger“, and others said she was only there for the publicity. Robert Herjavec and Richard Branson made a joint offer of $600,000 for 20%, but Yunha refused. Yunha couldn’t accept the deal as her previous investors invested at a $10 million valuation.
After Shark Tank: App Growth and Funding Success
After the episode aired, the app received a huge boost in downloads. By the end of 2017, over one million users downloaded the app. Currently, the app has 5 million users and is averaging 80,000 new members every month.
The publicity from Shark Tank and user growth helped Yunha with future fundraising. She raised over $12.8 million from big-name investors like New Enterprise Associates, Y Combinator, and Foundation Capital.
Simple Habit is now one of the rated meditation apps along with Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer. A reputable website such as Verywellmind.com rated it as the best meditation app based on its selection. Simple Habit’s annual revenue is estimated to be around $5 million and the company is worth $12 million.