When people think of Boston startups, a few might come to mind; HubSpot, DraftKings, and Wayfair, just to name a couple. However, there are plenty of others that are making a splash without thriving on national recognition. Happier, a Beantown-based startup founded in 2012, is the perfect example.
Imagine a social network that you can log into on your smartphone where you don’t feel the pressure to impress from your friends. Instead, you’re flooded with grateful, inspirational thoughts from people you follow – and the Happier community as a whole. Positivity all around is the name of the game on Happier. Whether you need a little motivation on a Monday or you want to share your own acts of kindness, Happier is the one-stop gratitude shop.
The app, which is free to join and download on iOS and Android devices, raised $2.4 million in its initial funding round, backed by Resolute VC and Venrock. Today, with a total over $3 million in funding under its belt, it continues to grow with Nataly Kogan at the helm.
Growing a Business Out of a Passion for Happiness
Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happier, Nataly Kogan, knew a bit about the business world before she launched her company. With experience working for McKinsey and Co. and Hudson Ventures, she had the background she needed to bring her vision for Happier to life. However, it was her passion for the pursuit of happiness that truly fueled the development of the startup.
“Life isn’t always good, and it can throw you a lot of really bad days,” Kogan said. “With Happier, we’ve created this emotional space that allows you to elevate really small but really good things, which would otherwise just be routine.”
The first version of the Happier app launched in February 2013, and the rest was history. Kogan and the team at Happier point to the psychological benefits of happiness as the fuel to the fire.
The Health Benefits of Happiness
Upon logging into Happier, you’ll immediately be greeted with updates from friends who have posted photos and stories pertaining to little acts of kindness. If you’re inspired to create your own post, you have the option to upload a photo and add it to a collection of other happy thoughts you’ve generated in the past. The app is quick to remind you that the social network is all about positivity. To upload your post, you click a “Share Happy” button to confirm.
It may all seem a little too “glass half full,” but take some of the facts that Happier has compiled into consideration. On its website, the startup points to a New York Times article, citing research from the Duke University Medical Center; the research shows optimistic heart patients tend to live longer lives. The Happier team also promotes a study conducted by Nicholas A. Christakis, a medical sociologist from Harvard University; the results from that research showed that happiness can spread “like a contagion.” Subsequently, Christakis has now joined Happier as an adviser.
“Focusing on small positive moments that are part of our everyday has been scientifically proven to fundamentally change how positive we feel,” said Kogan, during a TED Talk.
Whether you’re an optimist or you want to work on seeing the brighter side, Happier might just be the app to help you explore the benefits of positivity. In the least, you’ll gain a better understanding of what small acts of kindness can inspire in other people each day.
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