Headspace founders Rich Pierson and Andy Puddicombe

Headspace founders Rich Pierson and Andy Puddicombe

Headspace Inc., a Santa Monica-based tech firm with a meditation app used by millions, has launched a digital health subsidiary to develop the world’s first prescription meditation platform.

The company announced June 6 its new Headspace Health aimed to deliver the world’s first prescription meditation app by 2020. The mobile app would be prescribed by doctors for a range of chronic diseases pending completion of clinical trials and federal regulatory approval.

“The creation of Headspace Health is the most significant step ever taken to introduce meditation into medicine at scale,” said Rich Pierson, Headspace co-founder and chief executive, in a statement.

Headspace was founded in 2010 by Pierson, a then-anxious advertising executive, and Andy Puddicombe, a Buddhist monk. They moved their firm from London to Silicon Beach five years ago so they could surf.

Since then, its guided meditation app and online offerings have been accessed by 30 million people in 190 countries, in addition to one million subscribers at a cost of around $100 a year, according to the company.

It has also conducted dozens of studies with medical researchers at USC Keck School of Medicine, UC San Francisco, Harvard University and other academic institutions on the health implications of its meditation platform.

Headspace has raised $72.5 million in investor funding, according to Crunchbase, an investment tracker.

In September 2015, it raised $34.3 in a series A round led by The Chernin Group of Santa Monica that included actors Jessica Alba and Jared Leto. In June 2017, it raised another $36.7 million in a series B round led by Spectrum Equity of Boston.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.