What a ride!

Today, we are excited to announce that Bunch has raised $1.5m in additional funding to help more managers become better leaders in 2 minutes a day with a world-class group of 25 new investors (you read that right), joined by our existing investors M13, Atlantic Labs, & Mediahuis Ventures.

We’re excited to share some insights on who has joined our mission and what’s next for Bunch (we have BIG plans). In the spirit of building in public, we’d also like to shed some light on our top learnings from what was ultimately a fairly non-traditional fundraise with plenty of difficult moments along the way.

The decision to raise

If you’ve been following BUNCH for a while, you know that our mission is to give professionals control of their own growth with an AI coach that supports our users with lightweight, personalized content designed for continuous daily learning. You may also know that we raised $1m at the beginning of 2021 after the initial launch of our AI leadership coach. While the past year hasn’t gone exactly as we planned, it was a year of traction and growth:

  • By now, almost 50,000 aspiring leaders have downloaded Bunch, joining a community of growth-minded aspiring leaders
  • These leaders have spent over 1 million minutes learning and leveling-up on crucial skills like emotional intelligence, giving feedback, and building trust
  • Our community is pushing us forward organically – Bunch content has been shared over 75k times since launch!

As the end of the year approached, it was clear we weren’t quite ready for a Series A – but we knew we were really onto something and saw some incredible opportunities to improve the Bunch product for our users. As a result, we decided we’d need to take on additional seed funding to continue building Bunch.

A rocky start…

We set out to raise the traditional way – we confidently made a list of our target VCs, find warm introductions, and start conversations. We did this and had many productive conversations that led to many crucial learnings but also a lot of rejection.

Even though the team had built a strong product and the community grew 10x in 2021, many investors were cautious once they heard that we are still pre-revenue. As it turned out, operators fit the round better than traditional VCs because of their strong awareness of the problem and belief that it should be solved bottom-up. They saw the traction we had so far and built conviction based on the quality of our insights & tests on premium value so far.

The a-ha moment

While we were struggling to get past the initial “intro call” with many traditional VCs, we were being approached by our own users and operator angels in our network who were interested in investing in Bunch.

Our vision of democratizing professional growth was really landing with operators and angels who understand the problem first-hand in their teams and companies – they “got it” when professional investors often struggled.

When we started the fundraise, we had assumed that we needed 1 investor to put in $1m+ and a few others to follow-on with smaller tickets. Suddenly we had to ask ourselves a crazy question: can we do this thing primarily with operators?

We decided to try it and focus on operators with an interest in personal/professional growth, and everything changed when we met Alvar Lumberg & Rolf Schrömgens – two world-class operators we wholeheartedly admire.

With our focus narrowing on the “right’ kinds of investors for us, we started hearing more and more things like this, from Sami Lampinen at Inventure, who ultimately joined the round:

With these conversations, we knew we needed to talk to more operators and it inspired us to go all in and raise an operator-led round!

Read more on why our new & old investors backed us

The end result: our dream coalition of investors

The end result is a round with 24+ world-class operator angels that led teams at Figma, Netflix, Oura Health, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Wise, Trivago, N26, Spendesk, Salesforce, CoinMarketCap and more!

With this additional funding, a new phase of the Bunch journey begins – we are aiming big and building the world’s largest ecosystem for anyone to learn anything that benefits them at work!

What’s next at Bunch

So where do we go from here? We hold a few fundamental beliefs about learning:

  • Learning should be personalized – we learn best when we need to learn, and too much ‘learning’ is not relevant to the learner’s everyday challenges and needs
  • Learning should be actionable – most learning is forgotten if its not used in real world situations and learners should be encouraged to apply their learning quickly
  • Learning should be continuous – a little relevant learning everyday is much better than spikes of learning that are not applied
  • Learning should be social – we are all students and we are all teachers, getting access to relevant knowledge in the peer community when needed is key

Without giving away too much, here’s what you can expect to see in the Bunch app in the future:

  • A more connected experience – we will enable users to build their own personal network of growth & learning advisors to share challenges with learn from each other.
  • More personalization – Bunch will get even smarter by integrating with everyday work tools, like your calendar, to provide even better recommendations.
  • Life-long-learning – We will expand beyond leadership skills to relationship and career skills that help everyone at work to thrive and succeed.
  • Bunch for Knowledge creators – We grow our community of knowledge creators inside and outside companies, and expand our library of content to include the most relevant tips from the top leaders in the world.

Want to be a part of it?

We believe the way professional growth is delivered today is simply not working. It is either one-off, too time consuming, or very inactionable for learners to really grow. 

If our vision resonates with you and you want to be a part of the movement from the inside, we are hiring for all types of roles including design, marketing, and engineering!

Oh and of course, if you have not tried the AI coach yet, get it now and let us know what you think! In 2021 we grew 10x and we’re excited to keep that growth rate up in 2022 and add tens of thousands of new learners to the Bunch community. Next big milestone is Series A!

Let’s keep learning, let’s keep growing! #takethelead

Anthony, Darja and the entire Bunch team!