Bunker Origins: A Superhero Story

At Bunker, we love superheroes. We even named the customer in our first demo ‘Lois Lane’, and her persona lives on with passion inside the company today.  We love them for their humility, even though many are not human.  We love them for their diversity of powers, even though like us they all have weaknesses.  But most of all, we love them for their dedication to helping others.  And, although we may not yet be superhero status in everyone’s eyes, we are committed to helping solve real industry challenges to one day be a superhero for our customers.  

In our superhero pursuit to foster transparency between organizations and small businesses, November 20th marks an important milestone - Bunker Founder’s Day - the anniversary of Bunker’s incorporation.  To celebrate, we thought it appropriate to open some of the archives and share a few stories of the Bunker Origins.

Like many of our heros, Bunker comes from humble beginnings, surprisingly in a small village outside of Dublin near the Irish Sea - living the life of a temporary expat, a sabbatical from the US of sorts.  Most founders move TO San Francisco when they decide to build a startup, I oddly moved away from it for the first year.  Surviving on Irish stew, Guinness (it truly is better there) and long morning walks along the crashing seaside, my story evolved into the contingent workforce community through a friend of a friend of a friend, which is how the best partnerships begin.  

This is how the 8 months leading up to incorporation were spent.  Learning about industry challenges and churning through ideas as quickly as a tasty corned-beef dinner.  There are so many people who were helpful along the way.  Some with a simple (but meaningful) intro, others by literally spending days with us helping refine the product.  Through this churn, we had many different names, logos, domains and (lots of) slide decks.  Here are a few of the chapters from the Bunker Origins.

Names:

Naming a business is a fun, but anxious process.  You really want something perfect and often go around and around with ideas, concepts and perceptions.  We wanted a name that was simple, short and somewhat tied to our solution.  Ultimately, when we stumbled upon Bunker, it just felt right.

  • Project Allegro: this was the label for the original folder in our Google Drive.
  • BlanketX: this was a short lived name when we we’re trying to tie to insurance
  • Themiddle: another short lived name.  I’m not sure why it was considered at all.  Not our worst idea, but it’s up there.
  • Bunker: Bunker was selected after CONSIDERABLE focus group testing - with my wife and two friends, once, in an Uber.  Trademark secured shortly thereafter :).

Logos: 

Bringing a name to life in the form of a logo is another daunting task, but equally rewarding when “finished”.  We went through many iterations, but all had a few common traits - use of the name in letters and signification of “coverage”.  When a decision was made, we followed part of the Bunker ethos, simplicity.

We really did like this version, but quickly learned it didn’t scale well for slides, business cards and other materials.
 

Here is an early incarnation of our present-day logo.  Close, just needed a little perfecting.

We really did like this version, but quickly learned it didn’t scale well for slides, business cards and other materials.

 
Here is an early incarnation of our present-day logo.  Close, just needed a little perfecting.

Domains:

We ultimately settled on buildbunker.com.  We really view the future of work as an evolution, one that we want to continually be a part of and help build.  So, we are committed to evolving our platform and insurance products to build a portfolio that supports the future of work.

  • Yourbunker.com
  • Trybunker.com
  • Insurancebunker.com
  • Custombunker.com

Slide Decks:

When the first deck was built, we knew we were in the insurance industry and that the main pain point was the opacity between everyone involved.  So, as an initial idea and a (very terrible) deck cover we started (circa 2015) with “a transparent and data driven approach to buying small commercial insurance”.

Over time, as we learned more about the industry and how we could be most helpful, we pivoted from the original idea, improved our design skills and created a tangible solution, “a marketplace for contract-related insurance”.  This is the title slide of our actual seed round deck.

Locations: 

Similar to most entrepreneurs, I spent a lot of hopping from place to place, working wherever I put my laptop.  Special thanks to all the friends I made in Ireland - Dogpatch, Bank of Ireland co-working, and Starbucks Blackrock (to name a few) for their amazing hospitality!  Dublin has a thriving and very supportive startup community, I’d encourage anyone to check it out.

Bank Of Ireland Co-Working

Bank Of Ireland Co-Working

Dogpatch Labs

Dogpatch Labs

As we understood the industry challenges and what we wanted to build, Bunker grew to include our software development team in Kiev, Ukraine.  This team has been instrumental in taking our ideas and making them a reality for customers.

Officially Incorporated: November 20th, 2015

It was a proud day for all Bunkheads - a total of three at the time.  It was kind of like when Clark Kent first outruns a train or when Spiderman climbed a wall for the first time (before slinging web), it felt important, but we knew it was only the beginning.

Since then, we’ve pushed on, raising our seed round of capital, launching our private beta and growing the team to 13.  As we pass our one year anniversary, we continue to keep our focus on providing value for our customers and know, someday, we’ll earn more superhero stripes, maybe even our own cape or adamantium exoskeleton.  We look forward to keeping you updated along the way as we write our story.