French startup Bunkr raised $1.4 million (€1 million) from Idinvest Partners, Deezer co-founder Daniel Marhely and Free founder Xavier Niel. When I first covered the online presentation service in August 2013, the company told me that it was about to begin raising a seed round. It took a while because French VCs didn’t make it easy for the Rouen-based team.
“Idinvest rarely invests in seed rounds. It’s relatively unusual for them, but they believe in the project,” co-founder and CMO Édouard Petit told me in a phone interview. “In 15 months, we will know for sure what the perfect product experience and use case are. We will be able to continue the adventure at a bigger scale.”
Yet, it wasn’t what French VCs were looking for.
This is probably the most interesting part of the seed round — finding a VC firm that was willing to invest in Bunkr was nearly impossible. The company is part of startup accelerator TheFamily, and I dubbed Bunkr as “the PowerPoint killer we’ve all been waiting for” in my first profile.
Yet, it wasn’t what French VCs were looking for. At the end of 2013, the team had pitched every single VC firm in France. Some of them waited a few weeks before saying no. One of them got as far as conducting a due diligence review — eventually the deal fell through. In another one, two partners fought in front of Bunkr.
In some way, seeing Bunkr struggling is very relevant and shows how French VCs shouldn’t behave. It’s perfectly fine that none of them wanted to invest. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that. But VCs should give a clear answer after a couple of weeks, and do whatever is necessary within this relatively short time frame (multiple meetings, partner meetings, etc.). A few firms failed to do that.
In January 2014, when the team was ready to give up, an unexpected fund finally said yes — Idinvest. The fund doesn’t focus on seed rounds, but participates in a round like that from time to time, for example with Criteo, Webedia or Talend. Due to legal contraints, it took a few extra months before signing the deal. Everything is done now.
You’re in front of an audience when you make a presentation — it makes Bunkr intrinsically viral
To be fair, Bunkr didn’t have sexy numbers with a clear path toward profitability — the company bet on its product, vision and team. Idinvest was the only one to buy it. According to the firm, Bunkr should now focus on attracting millions of users before building a clear business model. Incidentally, the startup is also launching a brand new version today.
Now, you can create public presentations for free, meaning that as long as you share your presentation on your Bunkr profile, it doens’t count toward your quota. In some way, the new model is very similar to GitHub’s plans. After your free quota, you will have to pay €5 to create private presentations.
“Now, we have a few presentations that nearly got a million views. People share their presentations more than we thought,” Petit said. “That’s why it makes sense to push public presentations. You’re in front of an audience when you make a presentation — it makes Bunkr intrinsically viral.”
Moreover, as Bunkr presentations are very visual HTML5 presentations, Google will index this content. When you open a presentation, you don’t have to use Flash in your browser, you don’t have to install an app on your smartphone. You can just click on a link, and it will work in whatever browser you are using.
It doesn’t mean that Bunkr is becoming a presentation sharing platform like Slideshare. Bunkr remains a creation tool. You still amass content in your Bunkr account and create presentations from your browser. On this front, there are now new features, including the ability to add tweet embeds in your presentation, with retweet or follow buttons.
Thanks to the funding round, 10 people are now working on Bunkr. The service now has 50,000 registered users and 1,000 paid clients. A year ago, the service was much less usable than it is today. It is still not enough to uninstall PowerPoint from your computer, but let’s hope that everyone will be able to do just that in 12 months.