Venture capital funding for religious, mostly Christian, apps jumped from $6.1 million in 2016 to $175.3 million in 2021, market research firm PitchBook Data reports.
According to Forbes, the increase may primarily be attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, which closed many churches and forced many to seek virtual means of worship and education.
In 2020, the year the pandemic began, venture capital funding for those apps was $48.5 million.
One of the most successful apps was Hallow, a Catholic-based for-profit app that raised $50 million this year. The app helps users create a routine of prayer and Bible reading.
“We’re big fans of anybody helping folks deepen their relationship with God and find peace, so we’re excited to see a lot of folks — Glorify, Pray, Abide — all these folks continue to try to help folks to grow deeper in their spirituality,” said Alex Jones, founder of Hallow.
Another app, Glorify, raised some $40 million in Series A funding this year. Investors included the SoftBank Latin America Fund and singer Michael Bublé.
The subscription-based “well-being” app offers guided meditation, audio Bible passages and Christian music.
Some, however, say that those types of apps shouldn’t charge subscription fees.
“I don’t think any religious app should be for-profit,” said Walter Rossi, a rector for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. “Prayer is always free.”
The Bible app is the most popular religious app and is on more than 400 million devices worldwide.
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, about 28 percent of Americans said their religious faith has been strengthened during the pandemic. Church attendance, however, has fallen by about 50 percent.
“The pandemic has led to the cancellation of religious activities and in-person services around the world, but few people say their religious faith has weakened as a result of the outbreak,” a Pew Forum found.
Photo courtesy: ©Aaron Burden/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.