Ben Jackson and his team were so determined to meet their fundraising goal they didn’t notice they crushed it.
“One day, we looked up and realized that we were already substantially oversubscribed,” said Jackson, co-founder of Bungii. “We’re super excited and thankful for it. … Our team attacked that goal hard.”
Bungii — which created an app to connect users with area truck drivers to haul items — smashed its $2 million target and closed its Series A round at $3 million. Raised from Kansas City-based PerceptiveEquity, C2FO CEO Sandy Kemper and other private investors, the funds will be allocated toward the Bungii’s national expansion efforts, Jackson said.
Thanks to the local funds, the on-demand hauling platform is in the midst of rolling out in Atlanta, Jackson said.
“The thing that was standing between us and expansion was the capital,” he said. “We could’ve cash flowed this national expansion but we think the best strategy is to expand as quickly and efficiently as we can. This round is a huge testament to the startup-minded people of Kansas City. I’m really excited that we’re able to do this.”
Bungii made it a point to find the right type of investors for its team, Jackson said. Such shrewd business minds as C2FO’s Kemper and former Perceptive Software executives Scott Coons, Cary DeCamp and Tim Helton will significantly help the firm grow, Jackson added.
“We wanted investors who we could take problems to, be open with and investors with whom I can be focused on running the company with,” he said. “There’s pressure but we were very intentional about the investors we pursued and brought on board. I’m really excited we get to work with these really smart people.”
Only about 14 months old, Bungii is leveraging Kansas City as a testbed to learn more about its customers and how to streamline its operation, Jackson said. For instance, the company now knows to more methodically hire truck drivers as independent contractors to provide them more consistent work, he said.
The firm also has discovered more effective marketing techniques, Jackson said. Bungii has lowered its customer acquisition cost by more than 75 percent since 2016, while also maintaining a net promoter score of 94, he said.
Another positive metric: Bungii has averaged 25 percent monthly revenue growth, Jackson said.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “There are a lot of positives moving forward. We’re really primed and prepared to scale on a national level.”
Moving in 2018, Bungii hopes to land contracts with large retailers to serve as their moving partners. The firm — which already is conducting a pilot test with Kansas City Costco stores — is eyeing companies like Pottery Barn, Sam’s Club and others, Jackson said. Working with large retailers will allow the company to further drive down user acquisition costs, he added.
Bungii’s on-demand model is similar to hailing a ride via Uber or Lyft. Users in Kansas City, Lawrence and Atlanta can request a local truck and schedule pickups for items they’d like to move. Bungii charges $1 per minute and $1 per mile, with the average trip costing about $40, according to Jackson.
To vet its drivers — and their trucks — Bungii completes a background check, vehicle inspection, personal interview and customer service training. The platform also has in-app GPS tracking so users can track their drivers and provide them with a rating after their service is complete.
Bungii has about 100 drivers in Kansas City who have completed thousands of trips, Jackson said.
The platform’s ability to find success in Kansas City with users and investors proves that the area is fertile for startup growth, Jackson said.
“I hear a lot that Kansas City and the Midwest isn’t a good place to raise money. I want to dispel that narrative,” he said. “It’s possible to do this in Kansas City. We’re doing it.”