We’re excited to announce our investment in Bunch, a social app for friends to video chat while playing games together. Hundreds of thousands of users already play mobile games together on Bunch every week. We invested in Bunch for three main reasons:
1) Gaming has felt less “face-to-face” with the rise of online multiplayer
Split screens and in-person gaming used to be what “multiplayer” meant, primarily through LAN parties and playing video games at your friend's house. When online multiplayer became possible, we started playing online. This opened up video gaming to many more players, yet also made it less in-person or face-to-face. The team at Bunch wants people to feel the same way they felt about playing together at a LAN party, even when they’re playing remotely. It’s with your friends, it’s social, and it’s casual - just having fun together.
2) Social + casual gaming will bring the next billion gamers
Bunch segments players into three segments:
Bunch targets moving Non-Gamers to Social Gamers. This is where they believe the next billion gamers for the industry will come from. It’s a thesis we also believe in. 100 million people played video games in 1995 and this has now risen to over 2.7 billion gamers in 2020. Gaming has grown from its beginnings as a niche hobby to a culturally accepted form of entertainment for billions of people across the world. Bunch is enabling the continued adoption of gaming and growing the pie for everyone.
3) Bunch is an open platform, with top publishers already supported
You can play some great first-party games on Bunch, but you can also play games like Brawl Stars, a massively successful mobile MOBA from Supercell. Bunch wants to work with and support third-party games because it ultimately creates a better experience for end-users. Bunch also creates a unique user acquisition and engagement tool for publishers - if I invite my friends to play Call of Duty Mobile on Bunch, I’ve just introduced them all to this new game and we now have a default game to play together.
Bunch is doubling down on this network effect by getting publishers (e.g. Tencent, Supercell, Riot, EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft, and others) to invest in them. The buy-in, trust, and alignment of incentives developed by getting your customers to invest in you creates a powerful competitive advantage.
The Team: Bunch is led by a strong team with Selcuk Alti as CEO, Jason Liang as CTO, Jonas Christiansen leading product, Jordan Howlett as Director of Engineering, and David Fono running game development. Selcuk is a serial entrepreneur (Socialwire → Rakuten, Boostable → Metric Collective) and was previously a venture partner at 500 Startups. Jason and the rest of the team come from Google, Facebook, Pivotal Labs, Muse, Mox Video, and Stych Media. It’s a rockstar team that knows how to build sticky consumer applications. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Selcuk and the team as they continue to build Bunch.
The Deal: Bunch raised $20M in Series A funding. The lead investor was General Catalyst and the other co-investors are Electronic Arts, Krafton (PUBG), Mixi, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Supercell, Riot Games, Miniclip, COLOPL, LVP, Northzone, Streamlined Ventures, Redbird Capital, Velo Partners, Golden Venture Partners and Alven Capital Partners.