Catholic prayer and meditation app Hallow has launched a partnership with actor Mark Wahlberg, who is the biggest name to date to provide exclusive content to the Chicago-based startup.
Hallow, the most downloaded and used Catholic app in the world, has released a new series of resources in conjunction with the actor's newest film, "Father Stu," which hits theaters Wednesday. Wahlberg put his own money into producing the movie that is based on the true story of Fr. Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-priest. co-starring Mel Gibson.
Although Wahlberg is a devout Catholic and has not shied away from sharing his faith, "Father Stu" is his first religious project. So when the founders of Hallow – who are big fans of Wahlberg – heard about it, they reached out to him to find out how they could help folks discover the movie while more broadly helping people build a habit of daily prayer.
"I've been really inspired by how open he's been about sharing his faith, his morning routine of prayer," Hallow co-founder Alex Jones told FOX Business of Wahlberg. "He's given a good chunk of talks about how important his faith has been to him throughout his career."
Jones says the deal with Wahlberg is definitely the largest and most expansive partnerships Hallow has done recently, but the app has partnered with a handful of other high-profile actors, starting with Jonathan Roumi, who plays Jesus in "The Chosen," and is one of their core content creators. Actor Mario Lopez has also created content for the app.
Hallow has seen a meteoric rise since its founding in 2018 by Jones, Erich Kerekes and Alessandro DiSanto.
A year ago, the app raised $12 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm General Catalyst, and it obtained another $40 million after a Series B round that included the likes of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, Drive Capital, Teamworthy Ventures, Narya VC, Contrary Capital, Uncork Capital, Susa Ventures, and Scott Malpass - the only American appointed by Pope Francis to sit on the Board of the Vatican Bank.
To date, the app has had roughly 2.5 million downloads, with 65 million prayers completed with 700% year-over-year growth in sessions completed.
Hallow has not only appealed to Catholics, though. Jones says they hear from tons of customers from different faith backgrounds beyond other Christian denominations – including Jewish, Muslim, and agnostic users – who use the app to find peace or grow deeper in their spirituality. When they checked a few months ago, the user that had completed the most prayers on the app was an Evangelical woman.
"It's just been a blessing to be able to journey alongside folks and to watch God work," Jones said of Hallow's success. "He's done, obviously, all of the heavy lifting here."