VCs Bet Remote Religion Will Persevere After Churches Reopen
(Bloomberg) -- Hallow, a Catholic-centric prayer and meditation app, raised $12 million in funding, a sign of confidence that interest in religious-based technology will continue even as churches begin to reopen.
Downloads of Hallow have grown sevenfold during the past year while Covid-19 spread, with spikes in demand during the recent Easter season and Lent, said founder and Chief Executive Officer Alex Jones.
The cash injection for the Chicago-based company was led by General Catalyst and was a big endorsement in the niche religious-app market that typically sees average investment sizes of $2 million, according to data from PitchBook and Crunchbase. Hallow is one of a handful of faith-based meditation and prayer apps that saw a surge in interest after churches closed and in-person worship moved online.
While Hallow offers some free content, it makes money through a $59.99 annual subscription fee that allows users to create prayer groups with friends and family, download homilies and prayers, and keep a journal. The three-year-old company has benefited from its partnership with more than 250 parishes across the country that have shared the Hallow app with members.
In addition to expanding its team and developing new content offerings, Hallow plans to increase efforts to recruit new users who don’t identify as religious. “We’re looking to go after folks who have fallen away from their faith or just don’t connect with the Catholic church but are still interested in spirituality,” Jones said.
Total venture capital funding for U.S. religious and faith-based apps hit a record $18 million in 2019, according to data from PitchBook and Crunchbase. Hallow has raised $15 million since launching in 2018 and also counts early Robinhood investor Susa Ventures as a backer.
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