When Bonsai launched last spring, few of us anticipated just how much the pandemic would change everything about the way we learn, work, and communicate. Today, the company announced the closing of its Seed round, led by Activate Venture Partners, bringing its total amount raised to $5.3m. This fuel will be used to grow Bonsai’s 1:1 professional advice and networking platform, which has thrived in a year dominated by distributed workforces and virtual offices. 

Founded by Patrick Sullivan, who previously started and sold RightsFlow (a past Activate portfolio company) to Google and Source3 to Facebook, and Jake Rosenfeld, a former VC at data-driven Correlation Ventures, Bonsai enables “learners” launching, pivoting, and growing their businesses and careers to meet, over live 1:1 video chats, with “coaches” via a “pay what you wish” model. 

Bonsai coaches are professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs, mostly sprinkled across the tech, media, and music industries, such as The Orchard (Sony) founder, Richard Gottehrer, former Facebook executive, Ellen Silver, and Google Drive founder, Jonathan Rochelle. 

“We are reengineering how people build professional networks”, explained Rosenfeld. “By providing a space for personalized advice and introductions, we make networking more equitable, modern, and deliberate.” 

To distribute access to those who need it most, the company has partnered with organizations such as Jamie Dimon’s New York Jobs CEO Council, Google for Startups’s Patriot Boot Camp, and the music industry’s Women in Music.”When it comes to success, a lot comes down to who you know”, serial entrepreneur, Sullivan, told us. “At Bonsai, the goal of partnering with others is simple – we unlock strong networks for those who don’t already have them, so they can learn and grow, even as the world becomes more virtual.” 

About Bonsai 

Bonsai is a business and career advice platform powered by live 1:1 video meetings. The company is based in NYC and Raleigh, with team members distributed across the U.S. 

About Activate Venture Partners 

Activate Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm that has backed breakout companies such as Medidata (NASDAQ: MDSO), MapMyFitness, (acquired by Under Armour), FSA Store, Tabula Rasa HealthCare (NASDAQ: RRHC), and RightsFlow (acquired by Google).