It is Bonus Time and This NYC Startup Just Raised a $1M Seed



People waits all year for their holiday or year-end bonuses. All well and good, but Bonusly helps you and your employees celebrate success with instant peer-to-peer bonuses. All year round.

And nothing pays off for a company like recognition for a job well done.

Co-founder & CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks tells us about this latest funding round. Read on and learn about the platform’s added bonus for employers…

Who were your investors and how much did you raise? Was it seed, Series A, B, etc? 

FirstMark Capital and Bloomberg Beta. We raised $1MM seed.

Tell us about your product or service. 

Bonusly helps companies recognize, reward, and retain their employees using peer-to-peer bonuses.

How is it different?

No one else is doing peer-to-peer bonuses. Some companies offer gamified peer-to-peer recognition, but they’re not very successful at sustaining employee participation over the long term. With Bonusly, we often see employee participation increase over time – employees love it.

Another thing that differentiates us is our focus on people analytics. Since our data is crowdsourced from all your employees, it can provide insights about your people that classic performance management systems cannot.

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

In the United States, companies spend $20bn/year on ineffective employee recognition programs like employee-of-the-month, top-down spot bonuses, and 10-year service awards. As competition for knowledge workers intensifies, companies are abandoning these outdated practices and seeking out an alternative that actually works.

Also, our market isn’t just the US. Nearly 40% of our customers are international. A conservative estimate is $40bn spent on employee recognition worldwide.


Raphael Crawford-Marks

Were there any unusual bonuses that you’ve heard about?

We allow companies to use real currency (dollars, euros, etc) or create a custom currency (company-branded points, etc). One company set their currency as “PTO Hours” – meaning you can cash out your bonus earnings for a day off! 

What’s your business model?

We charge a small per user, per month subscription fee.

What was the funding process like?

Educational. We’re first-time founders, and everything about the process was new to us. Luckily, we have great advisors who helped us along the way, and found two fantastic VCs to partner with. 

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

Nothing out of the ordinary. A lot of the challenge was learning how to pitch and fleshing out our vision for Bonusly. 

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

They could answer this better than I, but it helped that we had bootstrapped Bonusly for two years. We weren’t pitching an idea; we came to them with a relatively mature product, paying customers, and a lot of data showing that our approach was working. 

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

We plan to grow Bonusly and speak out about how broken most employee recognition programs are. We have a lot of data to share that shows how much more effective peer-to-peer bonuses are.

We’re also putting a lot of engineering resources into our people analytics features and our integrations with third party services.


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