Bubbles raises $8.5 million seed round to fix what’s broken with remote work
What if there was a world where working remotely was more effective, enjoyable, and collaborative than working in the office?
The pandemic exposed the shortcomings of our current tech stack. The more remote work we do, the more we lean on outdated software, and the more frustrated we get. The next era of collaboration tools need to be built by remote workers for remote workers. And they need to be specifically designed to increase deep work, reduce burnout, and end the dreaded “meeting that could’ve been an email”. The age of async is officially here.
Today, we’re excited to announce $8.5M in funding from partners including Khosla Ventures, Craft Ventures, Streamlined Ventures, 468 Capital, and Bain Capital, and strategic angels including Naval Ravikant, Jeff Morris Jr, Brianne Kimmel, Rahul Vohra & Todd Goldberg, and Ryan Hoover. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a strong team behind us, and we’re eager to use their expertise to build the future of async collaboration and welcome a new era of remote work.
Born From Frustrations With Remote Work
The history of bubbles starts with a frustrated CTO attempting to lead a distributed team in a hybrid work environment, relying entirely on the usual productivity stack for collaboration: Slack, Zoom, and Google docs. That CTO was me in 2014. As I managed engineers from around the world, I quickly realized that the tools at my disposal fell short— workers were burning out, unable to achieve the deep workflow they craved. There were too many Slacks, too many impromptu meetings, too much lost in translation.
Turns out, I was not alone with my frustrations. A 2021 study of 30,000 Microsoft and LinkedIn employees found that employees are burned out and digitally exhausted. Collaboration, which is highly correlated with innovation, is at all-time low, with employee happiness plummeting. Nationally, over 40% of employees are looking to leave their job. The underlying reason? We’ve changed the “office,” but haven’t changed the way we do work in the new office.
Designed For Remote Work
Bubbles is the most versatile async collaboration tool ever built. It adds threaded video, audio, and text comments to on-screen working environments, closing the loop on communications and ending the need for impromptu Zooms.
We’ve seen bubbles gain traction quickly because it’s easy to start, share, and contribute. You simply start a bubble from your web browser, capture your perspective through video, audio, and screen recording, and invite collaborators into the conversation. This begins a threaded back-and-forth conversation where collaborations can comment at specific time-codes as well as point, gesture, explain—even smile—at any part of the work.
Using bubbles goes beyond sharing an idea effectively; it's really about collaboration and decision making. Bubbles is designed for people to work, together, async, at their own pace. Teamwork on your own time.
Bubbles allows users to receive communications, think about it, and then provide guidance at every individual’s optimal time. This allows for more thoughtful feedback, and greater respect for employee time and personal working styles. It all drives towards enhanced team decision-making, discussions and decisions documented, and every party feeling like they’ve been given the chance to weigh in.
Our goal is to help you get your point across, whether it’s about a bug, a creative piece, a product experience, or a genius thought at 4am. Bubbles recordings and threads deliver a more nuanced and a more human style of communication, leveraging all the non-verbal cues humans rely on to communicate.
Let’s Not Hop On a Call
It’s time for a new wave of tools that are built for today’s workforce, in which more companies are prioritizing an asynchronous-first culture. A culture that prioritizes fewer meetings, more deep work, more flexibility, and more thoughtful decision-making. Bubbles is on a mission to make collaboration joyful and effective by facilitating a more natural kind of working environment.
More teams are transforming how they work with bubbles—saving time, making faster, better decisions, and building great products. Bubbles has opened up deeper, more thoughtful work all over the globe.
With the new funding, we plan on continuing to build our user base and roll out more features that enhance async team collaboration. We will invest in building features that help people get their point across in more detail, help teams move towards agreements outside of meetings, and make bubbles as available and easy to use for anyone, anywhere, anytime. We call it nonboarding.
The core of our brand isn’t a product, but a movement. A movement to refuse a robotic working life that forces humans to act in all sorts of unnatural ways. By adding more human communication to async tools we hope to recapture the joy of work for the next generation of workers.