The Music Remains the Same -Announcing Bonfire III
May 31, 2022
We are pleased to announce the launch of Bonfire III. This is now our third seed fund at $168M, along with our second opportunity fund at $63M. You can read the press release here and some great coverage from Christine Hall at Techcrunch.
While the fund was considerably over-subscribed, we capped its size to ensure we continue doing what have always done - be very selective and focused in our picking (b2b software only, seed-stage only, 25-30 investments per fund) and be very hands-on with our founders as they navigate the difficult journey from series Seed to A and beyond.
When we apply the “Bonfire Way” with the founders that we are fortunate to partner with, the recipe just works. We do not “go for growth” at all costs. We do not just “show up at the board meetings”. We do not “spend all our time with our winners” and “ignore our losers”. We work closely with our founding teams to set up an intentional approach for success and help guide them on building a balanced company that layers small wins on top of small wins until product-market-fit and momentum are achieved.
This focus and approach, by all measures, works quite well. Bonfire I and II have performed in the top 10% of global venture capital funds for their respective years. Over 85% of Bonfire companies have raised follow-on capital after Bonfire invests, collectively raising over $1.15 billion. Our assets under management now exceed $1 billion. More importantly, the testimonials that we receive from our founders validates the impact of our approach with their companies.
For Fund III, the music remains the same. The same intentional selection focus. The same hands-on curated guidance and support model. It is this combo that not only delivers terrific results but allows us to make this promise to all founders who choose to work with us:
We are more responsive. We will answer every email, every text, every call, and every slack post - quickly. We will set up regular weekly times with you on your schedule until you tell us you are "all good." We won’t just attend and be present for every board meeting; we work with you ahead of time to ensure you get what you need from it.
We are more trusted. We are always honest. While we won’t always make you feel fuzzy inside, we will help you identify problems and propose solutions that work because we’ve been in B2B SAAS for more than a minute. When we engage, you remain confident that we are only focused on maximizing you and your company’s success.
We are more supportive. We know how lonely and stressful it can be to be a start-up founder. Going from Seed to Series A is damn hard and not for the weak-spirited. You can always bring to us what worries you most and we will partner with you to help both evolve your company and your own leadership in order to achieve success.
Fortunately, our founders feel that we live up to our promise and serve as our most effective closing tools in hotly competitive deals.
We at Bonfire understand how hard it is for founders to persevere and the “two journeys” they must go on to thrive. Journey one is about business and company building - i.e. what to do when, who to hire when etc. Journey two is often even harder - which is the level of personal growth each leader must make, often in the fact of great self-doubt, for their company to thrive.
We feel our approach is uniquely tailored to maximize founders’ success, in flush or in lean times. As we invest at the seed stage, our investment return horizon is long - i.e. 7 to 10 years, and as such, the vagaries of the overall market concern us far less than later-stage investors. That being said, we are confident that, in choppier times, who founders partner with at seed will matter more than ever.
We are also launching today a brand evolution with a new website. Check it out at www.bonfirevc.com. We are leaning in hard as to why we think Bonfire is the best choice for B2B software founders at the seed stage. We believe our new site and messaging best represent what we stand for, and do a better job of illuminating our founders' stories and validation. We have also added a new “Fuel” page that includes a toolkit of articles and guides that we use every day with our own companies and founders to help them grow and evolve.
Special thanks go out again to our very supportive investors - without them, we could not do this incredibly gratifying work of supporting founders to achieve their audacious visions. We are so grateful for our “anchor” investors, without whom we would not exist. These include Daher Capital, Foundry Group, Mercer Advisors, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Aspen Grove Capital, and Shea Ventures. Thanks too to the over 30 successful startup founders and executives who are supporting us by investing in this fund.
Mark, Jim, Brett, Loren, Jennifer, Tyler, & Deb