Yunha Kim ’11 got the idea for her second startup while she was running the first startup she co-founded.

Kim began meditating to deal with stress she experienced at her first company, Locket, an app that curates information to appear on users’ phone lock screens. Soon, she was meditating five to eight times a day.

“After a few months, I started wanting to find different teachers, meditation techniques, meditation themes, but I quickly realized that there wasn’t one central platform or resource for the world’s best meditation teachers,” Kim said. That’s where she saw a business opportunity.

Locket was acquired by Wish in 2015, and Kim launched the Simple Habit iOS app in June 2016. Since then, more than 200,000 users have joined on iOS, Android and the web, and Kim was recently recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the Consumer Tech category.

But Kim didn’t always know she’d be an entrepreneur. She majored in economics and Chinese at Duke, and she said entrepreneurship wasn’t yet on her radar.

While working in investment banking, Kim got the idea for Locket. She was 23, and she said it felt like the perfect time to take a risk.

San Francisco-based Simple Habit makes meditation accessible to busy people by gathering five-minute lessons guided by a wide range of meditation teachers, mindfulness teachers at Google, former monks, authors and veterans.

Meditation helps people sleep better and stress less, Kim said.

“It’s rewarding to see that the benefits of meditation are resonating with more and more people,” she said. “Just a few years ago, meditation wasn’t popular at all, especially with the busy ambitious professionals demographic.”

Kim’s goal is to help people made meditation a part of their daily routine.

“We’re excited about building a world where people meditate on a daily basis, just like running or brushing their teeth,” she said. “Fifty years ago, people didn’t run or brush their teeth on daily basis — it was toothpaste companies and lifestyle companies like Nike who made that happen. We want to do the same for mindfulness.”

For more information about Simple Habit, visit its website or watch this video.

To read about more Duke entrepreneurs, click here.

By Katie Jansen

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