Even spirituality and religion can benefit from technology and digitization and – why not? – generate promising businesses. Such is the case with Glorify, an app built by Brits Ed Beccle and Henry Costa to help Christians around the world connect with God, which has just secured $40 million in a Series B round led by SoftBank Latin America Fund. The funding comes just two months after another $40 million was poured into the company in a round led by the a16z fund and followed by SoftBank and K5 Global, as well as celebrity investors such as Kris Jenner and Michael Bublé.
Founded in 2020, Glorify is an app through which Christians perform guided meditations, prayers, and readings from Bible texts. The content is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. In Brazil, where the app debuted in January last year, Glorify has already reached over 2.2 million downloads and, according to the company, users in the country spend over 204 million minutes on the app every day, numbers that place Brazil as one of the biggest markets for the app.
“The way people consume our content in Brazil is different. We see far higher engagement in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. And we already have very high engagement elsewhere in the world, but the Brazilian Christian community is on another level and it shows how committed they are to their faith,” said Beccle.
The content available on Glorify is curated according to the audience in each country. The company has local teams that work on the selection and production of religious content according to the preference of the faithful people in each country. The app also relies on partnerships with churches and local influencers to popularize the platform. In Brazil, among Glorify’s ambassadors are siblings Ana Paula Valadão and André Valadão, both gospel singers and pastors.
Glorify’s success can be traced to the right combination of global product-market fit and timing. Glorify’s premise is quite simple: to be a tool to help democratize Christians’ access to biblical content, prayers and devotionals, facilitate Christians’ worship routine, and promote user wellness.”We have always believed that prayer helps people fight anxiety, sleep better, and support their overall well-being, and in the last few months we have proven this thesis,” Costa said.
The timing couldn’t be better as well. Glorify hit the market in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Beccle explained that the app was not created because of the pandemic, but that undoubtedly the global health crisis helped drive its reach and growth. “The pandemic closed churches and caused people to spend a lot of time by themselves, which made it harder to connect with God. People wanted something that would help them feel connected and supported, and they turned to religious technology solutions to find that embrace,” he said.
Indeed, in a survey Glorify itself carried out with Christians aged 19-65 in the United States, the United Kingdom and Latin America to better understand its market and how its users interact with the app, respondents said that technology has played an important role in their worship practice last year: 35% of people said they went to church online and 53% of respondents said they began using technology, such as apps, to make their time alone with God more feasible.
Glorify will invest Series B funds primarily in developing new features so that users can record and share their own prayers with family and friends, giving the app a social networking characteristic. “The union of people, the communion between the faithful is the heart of the Christian faith. Bringing people together in this context is incredibly positive. That’s why I think it’s important that the app is, to some degree, a social network,” Beccle explained.