Bunch adds $1M to its seed round to flesh out its leadership learning app

This morning Bunch announced that it has closed a total of $4.4 million in seed capital, including a new $1 million infusion this week. The company’s product, a mobile app, focuses on teaching leadership skills to the younger generations more accustomed to learning in smaller chunks, often on the go.

Don’t roll your eyes, all ye who attended business school. The concept has traction.

Earlier this month TechCrunch covered Arist, for example, a startup that provides corporate training delivered to end-users via text. That company added $2 million to its prior raise, bringing its round to a total of $3.9 million. To see Bunch pick up some extra cash is therefore not too surprising.

TechCrunch caught up with Bunch CEO and co-founder Darja Gutnick and M13 partner and Bunch-backer Karl Alomar to chat about the round and what the startup is up to.

Bunch claims to be an “AI coach” that provides users with daily, short-form tips and tricks to become a better leader. Given that we have all either worked for a manager who could have used some more training, or been that manager ourselves, the idea isn’t a bad one.

As you would expect, Bunch tailors itself to individual users. Gutnick told TechCrunch that her company has partnered with academics to detail different leadership style “archetypes” as part of its foundation. The Bunch system also molds its out to a user’s style and leadership goals.

Notably when TechCrunch last covered Bunch, it was working on something a bit different. Back in 2017, the company was building what we described as “Google Analytics for company culture.” Since then the startup has shifted its focus to individuals instead of companies.

Bunch’s service launched in November, leading to around 13,000 signups by the start of the year. The startup now claims nearly 20,000. And it has big product plans for the next few months. That’s why the company raised more money, and why Alomar and his firm were willing to put more capital into the startup.

What’s ahead that got M13 sufficiently excited that it put more capital into Bunch? Alomar said that community and peer-review features are coming. It was a good time, he explained, to put more money into Gutnick’s company so that it can build, and then raise more capital later on after it gets some more work done.

The company plans to make money via a freemium offering. Gutnick told TechCrunch that related apps in her category tend to struggle with retention, so they charge up front and then don’t mind limited usage later on. She wants to flip that.

And there’s more to come from Bunch, like other categories of content. But the startup wants to focus and get its first niche done right. It now has another million dollars to prove that its early traction isn’t just that.

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