Ed Beccle hopes Glorify can serve as an antidote to social media apps
A 22-year-old British entrepreneur has created a paper fortune of tens of millions of pounds after one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors led a $40m (£30m) investment into a Christianity app he invented in church.
Ed Beccle, the chief executive of Glorify, said the funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm that has backed Airbnb, Twitter and Facebook, valued the app at $250m.
Andreessen Horowitz has joined SoftBank and celebrity investors including Michael Buble and Kris Jenner in funding Glorify, which was set up by Mr Beccle and his friend Henry Costa only last year, in February.
The pair retain a majority stake in the company, making their combined stakes worth more than $100m.
Glorify describes itself as a Christian alternative to mindfulness apps such as Calm and Headspace, containing bible chapters, daily prayer trackers and Christian music. It has more than 1m daily users and has been downloaded around 2.5m times. The app charges £6.99 a month for extra material.
Mr Beccle sold his previous company, mentoring service GraspHR, to the coaching company Hintsa Performance earlier this year.
Ed Beccle describes Glorify as a supplement to church
He and Mr Costa launched Glorify last year. “I come up with all my ideas in church,” Mr Beccle said. “My mind would float to all sorts of places and I’d think about how I could creatively solve things.”
Mr Beccle, who was born in Hong Kong and went to school in Oxford, said the app’s growth had been boosted by people being unable to attend church during lockdowns. “We’re not trying to replace the church, we’re a supplement to it. And I think it’s just as important because it’s that touch point of coming in every day.”
The company has around 60 staff and is based in London, with employees in Brazil and plans to hire on the US west coast.
Other investors in the company include K5 Global, an investment firm founded by Michael Kives, a well-connected former Hollywood agent, popstar Jason Derulo, and former Disney president Michael Ovitz.
Mr Beccle said he hoped the app would become an antidote to apps such as TikTok and Instagram that made it “difficult to disconnect”.
Facebook this year started testing a "pray" button in response to more faith groups turning to the social network during the pandemic.