New York-based Bunch has raised $ 20 million in venture funding to help friends party in multiplayer mobile games. Bunch’s mission is to create a social layer that people will visit over and over again.
Venture capital firm General Catalyst led the round, with top game developers such as Electronic Art, Take-Two Interactive Software, Krafton, Ubisoft, Mixi, Miniclip, Colopl, Riot Games, Ubisoft and Supercell. This is a rare moment of widespread support from game publishers trying to make mobile games more sticky.
During the pandemic, the company witnessed an increase in its user base from thousands to millions, Bunch CEO Selcuk Atli said in an interview with GamesBeat. Since the beginning of March, Bunch’s monthly active users have increased 50-fold. Approximately 60% of millennial players are female, and their base has grown beyond Generation Z to reach more male players.
“What I like is that I can help many people connect with their friends during this period,” Atli said.
In addition to gaming companies, investors include LVP, North Zone, Streamlined Ventures, Convoy Ventures, Redbird Capital, Vero Partners and Alven Capital Partners. As part of the funding, general catalyst Nikobonatosos joined Bunch’s board of directors. The company says it will use the money to expand its user base and accelerate its integration with popular multiplayer games.
Bunch comes with a number of built-in games such as Pool, Mars Dash, Draw Party, Trivia, and the multiplayer version of Flappy Bird. It is also integrated into games such as Spaceteam, Brawl Stars and Armajet. Users can also play third-party games that are lightly supported by Bunch, such as PUBG Mobile, Minecraft, and Uno. These games allow players to participate in video chats through Bunch and open these games together while talking to each other. However, when the user is in the game, they will have to manually hold a party to play with these titles.
When users are playing third-party games on Bunch (when Bunch is running in the background), they can use a feature called Bunch Overlay to video chat with each other.
Bunch has established itself as a party app for multiplayer games. This is an easy way for players to connect with friends via video chat and dive into their favorite games. Developers can also integrate Bunch into their own games to increase engagement with players by having parties with friends and playing with them. Bunch is available for both iOS and Android.
Atli and co-founders Jason Liang and Jordan Howlett wanted to recreate the fun of playing games face-to-face at a LAN party. Online-only mobile solutions such as Bunch may provide a timely solution, as that is not possible during a pandemic.
One of the reasons the company was able to raise so much money was its rapid growth. Atli doesn’t disclose the number of users, but fans spend 1.5 million minutes a day. Among the top 100 social apps, Bunch is typically ranked from 10 to 40 daily.
The company currently employs 20 people. Atli said he has been familiar with Bonatsos for over eight years and is impressed with the knowledge of the industry, so he is happy to have Bonatsos on the board. Atli said the company will seek to integrate Bunch into more games and will be embedded or optimized for the game’s multiplayer experience.
Atli says, “Games are a new social network.” He said this is more true than ever, as the game is growing faster than other forms of entertainment during the pandemic.