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Open App Studio is Backed by Twitter’s CEO

Open App Studio is Backed by Twitter’s CEO

Open app studio
Open, a digital meditation platform, is in Dorsey’s wheelhouse.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is a meditation practitioner who, along with DoorDash co-founder Tony Xu, has backed a relaxation app studio called Open. The app, which launched in 2020, has reportedly raised $9 million. Last April, mindfulness apps were reaching new heights, as people were seeking to relax and escape from the stress of COVID-19, and studies show that 70% of people turn to meditation to improve well-being.

It makes sense that Dorsey would invest in a digital meditation platform. In 2018, Dorsey participated in a ten-day silent meditation retreat in Myanmar and practiced 17 hours of meditation a day. He engaged in Vipassana, a method that aims to be insightful and reveal the true nature of reality. While Dorsey practiced Vipassana, he didn’t read, write, work out, or listen to music and says that it’s one of the hardest things he does but offers the best results. As part of his daily routine, Dorsey has said that he meditates at least two hours a day, one hour in the morning and one in the evening.

For $20 a month, members can subscribe to the Open app studio and gain access to unlimited classes, workshops, gain early access to upcoming events, and receive free guest passes. Scholarships are available for people who can’t afford the membership fee. The app provides seven days of live classes in guided breathing, yoga/stretching, and meditation, as well as on-demand classes. Users of the wellness platform can search for courses based on interest or duration. In-person classes are now available at Open’s Venice Beach location in California. 

Open’s co-founder and CEO, Raed Khawaja, initially worked for PepsiCo and Walmart before becoming interested in California’s early-stage tech industry. Calling mindfulness a gateway to well-being and enjoying the community aspect of meditation, Khawaja designed the Open app studio. 

In an interview with Fortune, he made a connection to established companies and their success with followers.

“Fitness brands like Barry’s Bootcamp, Peloton, and SoulCycle understand the importance of delivering consistent experiences and cultivating a passionate community around their brands. I grew curious. What would it look like to create a wellness experience for people who want to go beyond fitness? How would we design a platform where people from all walks of life feel like they belong? In what ways can technology enable reach and accessibility? Open was born to address these curiosities. It is a response to our collective present moment,” Khawaja said in the Fortune interview.

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Mindfulness is big business, especially in a current and post-pandemic world. At a time when self-care is crucial, such platforms are no longer viewed as a lifestyle perk but are instead considered essential. Initially, the Open app studio was meant to have a brick-and-mortar business model and hosted pop-up classes. As the pandemic hit, the wellness platform quickly pivoted to an online studio format. Open has said that it has spent considerable time investing in resources and a high production value to provide an immersive experience for its live streams.   

The Open app studio participants can talk with their instructors and fellow students, creating a sense of community. 

According to a market study, the meditation market is predicted to grow to $2 billion dollars by the end of the year, and since 2012, the number of people who meditate has tripled. 

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