Mental wellness app Calm is deepening its footprint in the virtual care market as it has purchased health technology company Ripple Health Group.
As part of the acquisition, Ripple CEO and Co-Founder David Ko will join Calm as co-CEO, sharing leadership responsibilities with Calm Co-Founder Michael Acton Smith.
“David’s business acumen, operational excellence and proven record scaling healthcare companies will be invaluable for Calm as we enter into new ventures and shape the future of the category,” Smith said in a press release issued by the company.
Alex Tew, who had been Calm’s co-CEO, will now become the company’s executive chairman.
Founded in 2019, San Francisco-based Ripple provides users with a suite of health care services aimed at older adults and their caregivers. Ripple’s services include those for mental, physical and social well being and are delivered by two products: LikePaper – which tracks medications and stores health documents – as well as CareMemo, which connects users to care teams to coordinate health services and for keeping abreast of wellness goals.
Along with the purchase of Ripple, Calm announced that it is replacing its current employer wellness offering – Calm for Business – with a new mental health service called Calm Health.
Calm for Business’s services – like its services throughout its platform – are delivered by an app and are designed to improve sleep patterns, develop mindfulness, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. The offering has over 2,000 employer partners and covers more than 20 million individuals.
“Calm is on a mission to make the world happier and healthier,” Ko said in the press release. “I can’t think of a better fit for Ripple’s team and technology.”
Calm was founded in 2012, and like Ripple is headquartered in San Francisco. The company – which became a unicorn in 2019 when its valuation hit the $1 billion mark – has raised $218 million to date, according to fundraising tracking site Crunchbase.
In addition to leading Ripple, Ko has served as an advisor to Calm since 2019.
“We were just thrilled when conversations turned to what we could do together,” Smith said during an interview last Tuesday with business news channel CNBC. “Could we put these two amazing businesses, Calm and Ripple, together to change the world, to bend the health care curve and get close to solving the global mental health crisis.”
Mergers and acquisitions activity among virtual health care providers has been doing brisk business in the last couple of years, as the pandemic has necessitated many care services to be delivered online.
In 2021, 574 M&A deals for virtual providers across the health spectrum took place – according to business data company CB Insights – marking a 44% rise from a year earlier.