Many people ask us why we’re not raising money. I’ll try here to explain our reasoning behind this decision.
A lot of it gets back to time. We started working on Bubble knowing it would be a 10-year project, if not more. Replacing code and making programming accessible is something that is hard. It has been tried before, without success. It does take time to come with the right product and the right infrastructure. On the other hand, many investors, especially institutional investors, have to return the money earlier, because of their limited partners (i.e. their clients). This may lead to some conflicts later on we would like to avoid.
Another reason is that taking external money comes with the pressure of delivering the right metrics (in the eyes of the investors). In most cases, it’s about the number of users. If we were raising money, we would have to get as many users as we can, as fast as we can. We think this isn’t the best approach to solve the problem we’re tackling. For many ventures, such as social networks, the interests of existing and new users are aligned. For Bubble, this isn’t that simple. As we need to prove it is actually possible to replace code and human programmers, we have to offer a very powerful platform so that our users can grow their product and business on us. Our bet is that at some point, we’ll have enough trust from them so that we can start working on generating exponential growth.
Here is a very practical example of where we have such a conflict between existing and prospective users. Most investors we met with suggested to build templates, so that users could have an app up and running very quickly. This is definitely a great way to get many users quickly. However, when we talked with our existing users, we realized the first thing they would do with a template would be to erase everything… To them, the value of Bubble is precisely that there are no templates. Therefore, we’ll succeed if we manage to have people learn how to use Bubble, instead of offering ready-to-use templates. Getting people to learn a new tool takes time and is unlikely to offer an exponential growth in the short term.
The good news is that our users are willing to pay for our service. Unlike many consumer ventures, our users aren’t expecting a free service. This offers us the opportunity to bootstrap; we want to grab it as we feel this is the best way to realize Bubble’s mission.