Bunsen, the UK’s first marketplace for the outdated school supplies industry, is announcing its £250,000 pre-seed round. Investors include Fuel Ventures and prominent angels including executives from tech giants like Snap Inc. and Callsign, and a former executive at Airbnb.
Bunsen is on a mission to build the definitive marketplace for schools to buy anything they need to teach at the best price, saving them time and money on the £3bn national annual spend on classroom equipment. When equipment arrives, schools can keep track of it in an integrated stock management app.
This comes as schools contend with rising energy bills, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies projecting that per pupil spending in 2024 will be no higher than in 2010. Appropriately, Bunsen is free for schools to use and purchase from, instead of requiring a subscription fee. Businesses that sell to schools pay when a purchase is made.
Alex Tep (pictured), founder of Bunsen, said, “I used to be a teacher, so I know that buying classroom supplies is an outdated process. Some schools still rifle through paper catalogues and phone orders in. That hasn’t changed since the 1950s.
It’s hard to find the best prices, so money that could be better spent on supporting children’s learning is wasted. These frustrations drove me to leave teaching, teach myself to code, and create Bunsen, an online marketplace that lets schools compare prices of educational equipment on a single website, just as you would when buying things for yourself.”
Bunsen is quickly gaining UK school and supplier market share, already listing the largest range of school science equipment in the UK from leading suppliers. They carry everything from microscopes to virtual reality learning systems, anticipating the rise of the metaverse in the classroom.
Bunsen follows a trend of B2B marketplaces streamlining traditional industries, with the number of European B2B marketplaces rising from 20 in 2010 to 300 today as tech-native millennials are promoted to purchasing roles in businesses and schools.
Investors in this round include Fuel Ventures and angel investors such as Claire Valoti (VP EMEA, Snap Inc.).
“As angel investors we love investing in marketplaces, especially those disrupting traditional industries such as the school supplies space. With Bunsen being run by a brilliant founder like Alex Tep, this was a very easy investment decision.” Claire Valoti, VP of EMEA Snap Inc.