- which makes an app that guides people through relaxation exercises and encourages users to breathe - has been valued at US$1 billion ($1.5b). in a funding round led by TPG Growth, the Ashton Kutcher-backed startup said today.

Kutcher - who played Apple founder Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs - has put money into more than 70 startups, including early-stage investments in Airbnb, Uber, and Foursquare. Through Sound Ventures, which he co-founded with US manager Guy Oseary, the Hollywood actor has built a portfolio worth more than US$250m ($366m).

Calm aims to help people tackle mental health issues such as anxiety and insomnia through mediation sessions, stretching tutorials and music. There are even bedtime stories on the app, including some read by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey.

"Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century," co-founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Michael Acton Smith said in a statement. His co-founder and co-CEO, Alex Tew, added that the company would prioritize spending on international growth and creating new content.


Calm, which has 50 employees, said it's profitable. The app has been downloaded more than 40 million times, it said in a statement, and it has more than 1 million paying subscribers.

Calm raised US$88 million ($129m) in the round, which included existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Kutcher's Sound Ventures, as well as Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency. The new cash influx brings the startup's total money raised to $116m.

The funding makes San Francisco-based Calm a major player in the wellness industry, which has drawn attention in recent years from investors as well as stressed-out users. Companies like mindfulness app Headspace and meditation wearable maker Muse have also raised money from VCs, though at lower valuations.