Meditopia was founded 2 years ago as a mindfulness and meditation app. Since then, the company grew to 60 countries with +5M users and recently announced a €2.3M round. Meditopia’s vision and company culture that formed around it since its inception are how it stands out from the competition.
Fatih, the co-founder of Meditopia, was my guest in the 12th episode of Glocal Podcast. We discussed how Meditopia’s vision had a huge impact on the team, culture, and strategies along the way. This article is an attempt to explain the importance of setting the vision right from the start.
Embrace the problem and fully connect with it
Meditopia was born with the goal of attacking the world’s mental health problem. We all go through various mental processes on a daily basis, big or small. In an attempt to figure out ways to solve the issue that affects billions of people every day, the team launched a meditation app and put major problems like stress, anxiety, and insomnia on to its roadmap.
Tim Cook’s declaration that ‘Apple will be remembered as a healthcare company, not as a telephone or hardware company’ must have affected Fatih and the team. As the world changes, so do people’s expectations and needs. The increase in life span means that aging will become an integral part of our lives and mental health will even be a more critical component of it.
Not just 21st, Meditopia will become a 22nd-century company!
I believe almost all of the B2C success stories of the decade, also created vast social benefits and impact. How Udemy democratizes education, or how Uber helps people increase their income while also providing a better transportation alternative; are good examples of it. Although these companies start with financial goals, as they affect millions of people, social impact unconsciously sits at the core of their agenda.
Fatih and the Meditopia team began with a similar mindset. Placing social benefits at the middle of their business plan, along with financial goals, Meditopia’s mission was sound and clear:
If you want to create a company that will exist not only in the 21st century but in the 22nd century, you have to put humanistic ideals ahead of your financial goals. - Fatih
Coopetition with competitors to solve mental problems together
Meditopia team has great respect for its 2 unicorn competitors, Calm and Headspace. Acknowledging them as the pioneers in the space, Fatih finds their company cultures and team strength inspiring. With a goal of solving the global mental health crisis, one step at a time, Meditopia entered the market from an angle that these unicorns completely ignored.
Meditation is an exercise that one performs alone and in the most intimate moments, as the journey takes the person to the deepest levels in their minds. Meditopia intrudes the most intimate times, right before sleeping or early in the morning. Hence, it is essential for the meditation to be fully harmonic and localized for every culture.
Aware of the intimacy of the experience, the founding team realized that their competitors were not localizing the product for specific regions and Meditopia’s go-to-market strategy came along. As these giant competitors doubled down and competed to further penetrate the English speaking markets, Meditopia followed the opposite strategy and targeted the Turkish market with a fully localized app.
People should feel safe here, we are in their most intimate moments
Meditopia worked with local therapists and meditation teachers to develop a fully localized product tailored to the Turkish language and culture. With 15 programs and 150 meditation types, the company grew rapidly in the local market and proved that it can out-beat Calm and Headspace with this strategy.
Meditopia currently has customers from more than 60 countries and has distributed teams in Span, Brazil, and Germany - fully focused on localization. Firmly holding on to its strongest weapon, Fatih details the 360-degree localization journey to 3 major steps.
The team starts with recruiting a local lead who will work closely with potential customers and partners. As the Meditopia team fully localizes the language, the expansion team maps market needs, cultural requirements and customer expectations, After the product and content are localized, the team onboard initial users and gets in close communication with them. Strange phrases, connotations, content that doesn’t fully fit the culture and user flows are fine-tuned. The last phase is to further deepen the test group experience.
We are living in a digital world. But to be fully harmonic to the local culture, we recruit people from various regions and follow their guide in the process. - Fatih
We must build deeper connections with our customers
Aside from Headspace and Calm, Meditopia competed with local players in almost every single market. These players validate the need in the market and show the established customer adoption. Other player’s entrance to the market further benefits the end customer both from price and quality perspectives.
The competition benefits the end-user and this makes me happy. Aside from the price competition, it is great for people to have alternatives in their mental journeys - Fatih
Although Meditopia managed to beat local players and has started to challenge Calm and Headspace, the company still has a long way to go. Considering that all of us go through different mental processes, it is fair to say that Meditopia is navigating in one of the largest and fastest-growing markets out there. Started as a fully localized meditation app, Meditopia aims to develop vertical solutions that provide deeper value and turn into a fully-fledged mental companion.
Everyone’s mental processes and problems are different. Leveraging the ready data in the platform, Meditopia wants to start by personalizing the meditation experience. Analyzing user’s needs, mental state and expectations, the platform will offer various meditation programs and this transformation will then be deepened by vertical services for sleep problems, stress, self-confidence issues and even get down to personal therapists.
Meditopia must be the place where we feel most secure, away from our increasingly chaotic daily life. -Fatih
Everyone needs a mental companion
The strong product differentiation and deeper value proposition will take Meditopia to a whole new level. This strategy will also enable Meditopia to enter more competitive English speaking markets and the team will spend most of its resources on this transformation.
Looking from the outside, the entry barrier for a consumer-facing content application, like Meditopia, can seem low. As Fatih also mentioned in the episode, the team developed the initial product in a very short, 2-month span. The only 2 entry barriers that Meditopia had to date were the fully localized content and the effective growth mechanism fed by virality.
Leveraging the large customer data for better personalization and developing the mental companion, Meditopia is now introducing a higher data entry barrier to play. The deepened relations with its customers will further increase user engagement and average lifetime.
We do not want to narrow our alternatives by continuously raising large rounds and pouring resources into acquiring more users. Our growth is fully fueled by organic mechanisms and we are putting more resources to differentiate on the product level to decide on our own fate every step of the way. This is how we will take Meditopia to the 22nd century. - Fatih