The UK-based faith app Glorify raised a $40 million Series B round led by SoftBank Latin America Fund. In December 2021, Glorify had already raised $40 million from a16z with SoftBank Latin America Fund and K5 Global, besides US celebrities like Kris Jenner, Corey Gamble, Michael Ovitz, Michael Bublé, Jason Derulo, and Candy Crush’s co-founders. In total, the Christian app has raised $84.6 million since its launch in 2020.
22-years-old Edward Beccle is Glorify’s CEO. A serial entrepreneur, he was born in Hong Kong and went to the United Kingdom when he was a kid. “Glorify came from my mind and my heart. One in an emotional level, and another a commercial career level,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate in my life, I started technology companies before Glorify and I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had some business success and really have the privilege of choosing how I spend my life and my time. It’s very difficult when you’re very young to not get philosophical about everything that you do.”
Beccle was about 17 when he sold his first company. He left school at that time to build his next app, and didn’t have any high school qualifications, nor went to the university. What to do when you’re super-rich and young? He made Glorify.
“I made some money from it and I thought all my friends were going to the university, trying to get jobs, but I’ve kind of managed to skip a few steps, which is insane. I can afford to eat the food that I want, live where I want, and apart from that, I don’t really spend any money. So what do I do from that, what do I do with my mind and my time? I decided that I only wanted to build businesses that I felt I was truly proud of,” said the entrepreneur, in an interview. “Too many people feel neutral about the work that they do. They don’t think it’s bad and they don’t think it’s good.”
Part of the youngest entrepreneurs, Beccle looks at social media a lot. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. He says he felt like social networks make a huge part of so many young people’s lives and that changed how young people consume media and content.
“And it’s pretty negative. It catalyzes people being depressed, people comparing themselves to others and it’s not so good”, he says. Even though, people still come to those apps often because of the user experiences that make them addictive.
Beccle wanted to make something like that but for faith. It’s not like he wanted to make a Facebook for Christians, but the idea of Glorify, he says, was to get the massive community of Christians that exist in those social networks and build a specific place for them to live. “I’ve been in and out in my faith. It’s been going up and down. My partner Henry Costa, who co-founded my last business, is kind of my big brother, my best friend, and he’s 33. We were sitting in the office looking at these apps Calm and Headspace and we were like how there is not a version of this for Christians?”
Like social media, Glorify allows Christians to engage and interact with each other, in a place “where there is no negativity of exposure in a bad way”, according to Beccle. The app’s core are devotionals, with Bible’s quoting, music and prayers.
“When I was younger I went to a scary church with strange music that didn’t connect to me. I was told to go to church, which was not a choice when I was younger. It wasn’t associated with what I believe God is about. Yes, God is in the church, an awesome place to find Him. But for a lot of people, when it comes to every day, how can we build those elements, how can you boost teachings and positivity that come from the Bible all the time on your phone? That’s where it came from,” he adds.
The Headspace-like app has anxiety meditation, sleep meditation, music to help Christians think and connect with God. People are also able to create prayers, post them and share them.
“You can see someone praying 30 minutes, million minutes, we have some prayers in Brazil that have a lot of people praying together in one prayer. They prayed millions of minutes, it’s so powerful.”
Also like Headspace, Glorify has an option to pay for subscription-based premium content, but Beccle says he will never put profit above purpose. “If you can’t afford the app, we will give it to you for free. When you still can afford the app, we still give the majority of it for free too. My goal is to build a really large group of hundreds of millions of users inside the app and monetize them in different ways later,” he explains.
“We wanted to create a place where every Christian could come every day and find that connection. A lot of my thinking started when I looked at my faith as a muscle, you have to give it consistency and discipline.”
And consistency is the keyword in business. “If you look at the most successful companies in the world, they are the ones where you come in the morning and night. And when it comes to your relationship with God and faith, there’s no difference, there has never been an interface in your phone that enabled this sort of peace.”
Investors flock to companies that “do good”
Beccle and his partner didn’t have trouble finding people to invest in the app. They also had some previous success in other companies, besides a group of angels that wanted to invest in the duo again. “I don’t know how many people my age could experience what I’m experiencing right now. It’s a complete dream, I’m so grateful for it,” says Beccle.
After the UK, Glorify was launched in the US. The CEO says God opened a door for the app to go to Brazil.
“When we launched the app, people loved and the impact was extraordinary, changing people’s lives. I found myself in Brazil visiting a friend, before the pandemic. And in Brazil people’s faith is remarkable.”
Beccle met celebrities in the country and got several of the largest influencers in Brazil to post about the app, which led to more than 2,2 million downloads in the country alone. Celebrities’ friend, he also managed US influencers to post about it.
“Glorify is becoming an amazing medium to let people who have faith talk about that faith through something they feel comfortable with,” he says.
Brazil was the first step in Latin America and it’s the biggest market for the company. Recently, Glorify launched in Spanish-speaking LatAm. In the last 30 days alone the app had almost 600,000 users. Overall, it has 3,5 million Christians, and Brazil answers for about 60% of it.
The new proceeds are going to building the team and product, and spending more on content. “Brazil is a massive priority for me. We will invest in marketing the app, getting more people to download it.”
It was not like Glorify needed money for it. The Series B was all investor interest. “It’s a really good sign, a lot of investors are now thinking there’s got to be a shift, just like the shift I had. I think more people want to invest in companies that are genuinely doing good, not just making money. Especially for the younger generation, I don’t invest in any company that I don’t think aligns with my values. I know that more and more investors are doing that and they can see that this tech-based space for faith is massive. It’s going to be huge.”