Bubbles Aims to Supercharge Chats with Async Video Messaging

Bubbles Aims to Supercharge Chats with Async Video Messaging

An $8.5 million fundraising round headed by Khosla Ventures, Craft Ventures, Streamlined Ventures, 468 Ventures, and Bain Capital was completed by the company Bubbles, which bills its platform as the “anti-Zoom” for video chatting. The funds will be used to expand Bubbles’ platform and step up the company’s efforts to bring in new clients, according to co-founder and CEO Tom Medema. Medema said that the concept for Bubbles struck him when he was the CTO at Bloomon, a flower delivery firm in the Netherlands. Bubbles ads threaded video, audio, and text comments to employees’ desktops. Medema oversaw a remote team there that utilized Slack, Zoom, and Google Docs—what has grown to be the standard software stack for office communication.

The team suffered as a result of this set of tools’ shortcomings as the team grew and collaboration became more and more important. Medema wrote in an email to TechCrunch, “It was a frustrating game of calendar tetris, continual reminders, and repeated redoing of miscommunications. “I came to the realization that our supposedly productive tools were actually stifling our output. We are “always on,” but we don’t get any meaningful work done. I developed the idea for Bubbles while looking for a fix and breaking into our antiquated systems and procedures.

Medema started developing Bubbles in 2019, but he contends that the standardization of work-from-home arrangements has made the tool even more pertinent. Medema, a skeptic of remote work (or, more precisely, conventional remote work software), cites a 2021 survey of Microsoft and LinkedIn employees that discovered that workers are “digitally fatigued” and worn out. Medema stated, “Our goal is to bring joy back to work: to reclaim creativity and productivity, to stimulate deep work, and to lessen burnout by shifting from hyper-responsiveness and real-time communication to more asynchronous communication.

Async platforms are at the top of their list because they provide workers more time to tackle in-depth projects and prevent digital fatigue from being caused by being inundated with meetings and messages all day. Users may threadedly send and receive video or text messages asynchronously using Bubbles, according to Medema, allowing for more deliberate response. User acceptance has traditionally been a problem with asynchronous video technologies. After all, sending a fast Slack message is simpler than recording and editing a movie. However, Bubbles makes an effort to make the process more pleasant by reducing several components of it, doing away with usernames, onboarding procedures, and passwords.

By starting a Bubbles discussion in a web browser, users may record their perspective in audio, video, or a screen recording and invite others to join. This starts a threaded discussion in which members may respond to and remark on certain time codes. Medema argues that enhanced discovery, notably topic modeling and semantic search, will enable Bubbles users to “intuitively search across chats” in the future. Additionally, according to Medema, Bubbles will include transcription and summary features, automatically identifying crucial parts of films and offering actionable suggestions.

Medema stated that “quick queries” on Slack, overflowing email inboxes, and a never-ending stream of alerts prevent us from obtaining the priceless condition of deep work and flow. “Bubbles is an async-first tool, meant to function outside of the antiquated framework of the meeting — allowing users to collaborate on work at each individual’s ideal time,” says the developer. The asynchronous messaging concept has been tried before, not just by Bubbles. Weet, Threads, and Claap are some of the others. 

With Slack Clips, which allows users to embed audio, video, and screen recordings into channels and direct messages, Slack has dipped its toe into the water. Medema believes that Bubbles has crossed 20,000 monthly active users, which is a respectable amount. The challenge will be making Bubbles profitable. Right now, Bubbles is unlocked. A team tier with folders and fine-grained access control is part of the monetization objectives.