Mobile Meditation: Mental Workout Has an App for That
Mickey Beyer-Clausen, founder & CEO (left), and Tony Hanna, co-founder & creative director. Photo credit: Mikkel Bache
The launch of Apple’s iPhone and the iTunes App Store was the catalyst that united Mickey Beyer-Clausen’s interest in personal growth and his passion for technology. The result is Mental Workout, a company that designs, develops and markets iPhone applications that bring health and fitness solutions to users on the go.
The 35-year-old native of Denmark got in on the internet industry’s ground floor in the 1990s, founding or co-founding a number of early industry leaders such as Afilias. His successes with these businesses fueled his interest in serial entrepreneurship focusing in e-commerce and mobile media . The idea for Mental Workout came to him when he was between companies.
“I was looking for something to do,” he told BusinessNewsDaily. “It’s a personal combination of all the things I love — design, technology and mobile media — and my interest in personal growth and mind-related scientific research. It’s unbelievable how much more valuable this material is when it’s available in a mobile device.”
Mental health applications
Mental Workout was started in 2009 to help people deal with stress and increase their level of happiness and sense of well being. Since then the company has expanded to include web-based programs that make the material accessible to more people and corporate audiences. The iPhone lineup now includes five applications that cost from $1.99 to $4.99, including two developed in association with Virgin Atlantic, Jet Lag Fighter and Flying Without Fear. All of them are in iTune’s top 100 in popularity.
The company’s web-based offering is Freedom from Stress, a $9.99 multi-strategy program that offers exercises, tools, and tips for creating a stress-free life.
Freedom from Stress includes a video introduction to stress, a personal stress evaluation, tips for dealing with stressful situations, suggestions for lifestyle changes and 18 guided exercises and meditations that can be downloaded to a mobile device, computer or CD. The Flying Without Fear app for the iPhone includes a video-based explanation of the sights, sounds and sensations in a flight from start to finish, relaxation exercises fear therapy techniques and a “My Program” section where users can rate their personal fears and prepare for their next flight.
“The big ambition is to create a trusted brand that people will seek out when they have mental issues,” Beyer-Clausen said. “We work with the best experts out there. We can talk about results and research. It’s all based on science.”
Mental Workout has a staff of six — two in the United States, two in Denmark and two in Sweden. Content is developed by outside contractors, who include leading scientists and authorities such as Stephan Bodian, author of the bestselling “Meditation for Dummies.” Design and back-end coding are also done by contractors under the guidance of the Beyer-Clausen’s partner and creative director, Tony Hanna.
The ability to play well with others is often an issue for serial entrepreneurs. That’s not the case with Beyer-Clausen.
“I like working with a partner,” he said. “It’s healthy to get another perspective. Finding the right one is really difficult. This guy is the best partner one could have.”
Partnership has also paid off for Mental Workout in terms of program content. Two of its most popular iPhone apps were done in partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Flying Without Fear was based on a program the airline has been running in the U.K. for ten years with a claimed success rate of 98 percent. When it was released as a Mental Workout app it became an instant hit, ranking No. 1 in iTune’s travel category in 22 countries.
Flying Without Fear and Mindfulness Meditation are the company’s best-selling applications.
The decision to partner with Virgin Atlantic was based on their shared values of innovation and customer service, Beyer-Clausen said.
The company hopes to grow by expanding the number of categories of programs it offers in personal growth and well being and by enlarging its product offering through bundlingof its programs with webinars and phone counseling. Mobile apps will also be rolled out for Android Blackberry devices.
Mental Workout has also begun tapping the corporate market with web-based versions of its programs. Early adopters, which offer the programs as part of their wellness programs, include law firms and ad agencies.
Much of the company’s success has been fueled by public relations and word of mouth. They do very little advertising.
“We’re trying to be very pragmatic in our advertising ,” said Beyer-Clausen. “We want a quick payback. Growing a company from scratch with your own money is the most exciting thing in the world. It forces you to be creative.”