The Bunch was set up by recent graduates who were fed up of being taken advantage of by utility companies. The company was founded in 2016 taking on its first customers in May 2017. Since then the company has expanded, with over 3000 customers onboard for 2019/2020.
Here to answer our 10 questions is Elliott Herrod – Taylor, CEO and founder of The Bunch:
1 – In your own words – what do you do?
The Bunch consolidates all household utility bills into one simple monthly payment, split evenly between housemates living in shared accommodation.
As part of this, we provide individual liability, which means each tenant is responsible for their share of the bills only. This puts an end to awkward conversations about money owed between mates which is something I personally found a little tricky at university when sorting out bills for my house of ten.
We have built a portal which enables our customers to log-in and keep track of their usage levels which means they don’t end up with unexpected bills, as we provide an overview of how much they are using all year round. As we don’t make money from consumption levels, we are entirely aligned with our customers in helping to keep their usage down.
2 – What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?
We are innovating and ultimately improving an industry that unfortunately people have no choice but to deal with – bills! Turning the mundane into something attractive to our customers is a truly exciting challenge.
3 – What are you most proud of so far?
There are many things I’m proud of: having the guts to bootstrap the business for the first three years of trading; growing The Bunch from a one-man-band to what is now a team of 20; serving over 10,000 customers and adding value along the way.
Ultimately, I’m most proud that we have chosen to not take the easy option in our product design compared to competitors. What we’ve built is harder to sell, but better value for the end user, and that is really satisfying to me.
4 – What have you found most difficult about being a startup?
As a first time founder, I have come accustomed to the fact that almost every day I arrive into new environments that I have never had to navigate before. This has been particularly evident when growing and scaling the business. I have learnt to accept that I don’t always know what the right decision is, but I do know how to weigh up scenarios I’m faced with through leaning on the board and advisors that I have supporting me and critically evaluating the facts presented at the time.
5 – What would you do differently if you started now?
I would have put more time and thought into our hiring strategy from the start, and as a result I would have hired differently. I also would have put a larger focus on tech and automation from the beginning.
6 – Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?
We will have hit our target of £5million in revenue, with 10,000 customers on subscription. We will be confident in our B2C product for both students and young professionals and have launched our B2B product to start making a real change to the way agents and landlords handle utility bills at scale.
7 – What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?
The startup community in the region has an incredible willingness to share knowledge and experience in the name of progression for all, which I think is testament to the talent that exists here in the West of England.
8 – What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?
For me, it’s the fact that people up and down the country – particularly in London – really take the startup hub in the South West seriously. Not all businesses need to flock to London to get funding and build a viable business. Collectively, as a cluster, we are breaking that mould. As a business, we made an active decision to move to Bristol to be a part of this community, and I’m really happy that it’s so well regarded as a hub of innovation.
9 – Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?
Bunk – they are going after a market which is living in the stone age and modernising it. It’s truly a battle of legacy systems and precedence for them and I admire their tenacity.
10 – Where can we find out more about you?
To celebrate TechSPARK’s annual TT50 List, we’ve teamed up with Antidote Communications to uncover what makes a successful founder and leader of a tech company in the Southwest. We want to identify, not only the ingredients that make a tech leader, but go deeper – find out what makes them tick? What do they think about key issues? What do they like and dislike? Why are we doing this and what do we hope to achieve? We want to celebrate this years TT50 List and inspire the next generation of tech leaders. Please help us by completing our quick survey here.