UK-based social travel platform Bimble has raised $2.48 million in seed funding. Dimitris Panagopoulos led the round with participation from other investors that included Vikram Kumar of Kuvari Partners.
OXFORD, UK — Bimble,the fast growing community-led app to collect, organize and share great little places, today announced the launch of its social platform and the close of a $2.48M Seed financing round led by Dimitris Panagopoulos, a notable early-stage tech investor and one of the first backers of Net-a-Porter, with participating investment by a collection of experienced angel investors including Vikram Kumar of Kuvari Partners, Betfair co-founder, Mark Davies, and others whose portfolio companies include Pinterest, Culture Trip, Deliveroo, Hello Fresh, and Boden. The round follows an impressive year of growth for the young platform, which despite launching during a global pandemic, has grown a loyal user community of over 75,000 people across the US and UK, with projections of reaching 300,000 users in the coming year.
“Our mission at Bimble is to make it easier for people to get out there and enjoy the restaurants, bars, bakeries, boutiques, yoga studios, etc. that give local communities their unique personalities,” says Francesca Howland, co-founder and CEO of Bimble. “Everybody
loves the independent businesses that bring neighborhoods to life, all over the world. Too often we end up having disappointing experiences despite there being a great little place around the corner that we either don’t know about, or have forgotten. The
best place recommendations come word of mouth but this limits you to your own circle of friends. With Bimble, we’re bringing that into a digital community. Now, when we hear about, or come across great places – we can store them safely on our Bimble profiles.
There is an ultra-convenience in having one beautifully designed app specifically for your places rather than losing them to iOS notes and screenshots on your phone.”
The new financing will enable Bimble to grow its team, with a heavy emphasis on diversity – focusing on new hires across its product development, marketing, design and engineering teams.
The funding will also be used to invest in the development of young talent through the UK’s kickstarter programme, which is designed to get young people into the workforce, giving them a start on the career ladder. Over the next year, Bimble will continue building out key components of the app to offer a more enhanced and intuitive user experience, including more geo-locational and social layers that will allow for exciting map features and increased interaction between places and the people who love them.
“As a digital portal to the real world, Bimble is an excellent tool for people to champion their favorite small businesses, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. We are building Bimble to be the zeitgeist and provide a much needed alternative to current apps that are old-fashioned and out of touch with today’s users. When we first started, one of our primary goals was to offer a trustworthy alternative to the antiquated and unreliable star rating system,” says Julia Mallaby, co-founder and CMO of Bimble. “So we adopted the Spotify structure, with playlists of places – placelists- which we call Bimbles. This way, people create their own collections, based on mood, genre, or special interest. It’s entirely positive – you keep the places you love and leave out the ones that you don’t. The places belong to you: it’s your personal collection which makes Bimble truly authentic. There is something magical in discovering a Bimble and exploring somebody’s world through the places that matter to them. Now, with the new social features, you can follow like-minded Bimblers and invite your friends to make the most of the sharing community that Bimble offers.”
Released today, Bimble’s new social features are all about the human filter, encouraging users to invite friends to the platform and follow the people – from friends and acquaintances to interesting and engaging local insiders – that share their interests and offer valuable insight into great little places that are relevant to them. The app is forgoing the “like” button and all of the social media pressure that goes with it in favor of a “thank you” button, because sharing your favorite places is a generous act and people want to be able to say thank you.
A major milestone for the company and its community, these new features will empower Bimble to offer a truly personalized experience for its members. People can invite their friends to join and their Bimble feed will learn to reflect their interests, from the destinations they’re most eager to explore to the type of cuisine they favor – the app will become increasingly intuitive the more the user engages with it. The new features will also include recommendations and updates that directly relate to the Bimblers each person follows. Bimble is eager to help more people get out and enjoy places they love and, in so doing, help independent businesses thrive.
For more information about Bimble, or to download the app and sign up, visit www.Bimble.com.
Launched in 2020, Bimble is the personal, authentic and community-led platform for collecting, organizing and sharing great little places, and discovering incredible independent businesses and local spots that other people love. A digital portal to the real world, Bimble offers the advantage of a human filter with direct, informal, user-generated content and meaningful endorsements from people who love to go out and about and share their support for the places they love. The app is available for both iOS and Android.