Entrepreneur Charlie Butler is the Founder and COO of Bounce Insights. Making market research simple, fast and effective by delivering an end-to-end platform for companies to reach and engage any consumer cohort in
Ireland in under 48 Hours for any research needs you have. We are 100% mobile on the consumer-end, allowing us to provide a speed, quality and cost superior to any traditional market research.
You can visit the Bounce website here
We have a panel of over 13,000 mobile users from 16-60 years old in Ireland, with
our platform being used by leading agencies such as WHPR, Richmond Marketing,
Kinetic, MCCP, Dynamo & JWT Folk to improve the campaigns and brand strategy
of leading companies like AIB, Irish Life, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Guinness, Budweiser,
Britvic & PepsiCo. Ultimately, we are transforming how companies engage with
consumers, allowing them to reach their target customers in a matter of hours for
Unlike traditional research agencies, we price directly for the insight you receive on a
‘Cost Per Interview’ basis. For example, a nationally representative research
campaign of 1,000 Interviews with assistance on survey design, quality screening
and delivery of insight in under 48 Hours would cost €5,000. Similarly, if you want
500 Interviews from 25-35 year old Guinness drinkers from Dublin, this would cost
€2,500 with an average €5 CPI for full access to our platform.
How did you get the idea/ concept for your business?
After multiple attempts at building a start-up throughout our teenage years and early
university lives, we realised just how difficult it was to get effective validation or
insight into any idea, product or service. The obvious solution is to carry out market
research, yet the industry seemed completely devoid of any modern solution.
Furthermore, we didn’t know a single person under the age of 35 who had ever
participated in online research via email surveys, which made up the entirety of
traditional market research in Ireland – an archaic and disconnected attempt to
understand consumers in the 21st century.
Give a brief account of your education background:
In May 2020, I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with the Gold Medal in
academics for Global Business. Prior to that, I attended St. Mary’s College in
Rathmines, Dublin where I graduated with the Silver Medal in Academics in May
Did you always know/ever think you would become an entrepreneur when you
100% – I always knew I was going to set up my own company, it has always been a
dream of mine. I thrive in holding myself accountable for the success of any given
task I undertake, and when I found like-minded people in university, it became a
no-brainer that we would have a crack at scaling a business out of Ireland. Now that
we have gotten used to the rollercoaster of highs and lows associated with starting
your own business, I think the transition back to normality would be quite tricky!
Is entrepreneurship a common trait in your family?
It is indeed, both of my parents were entrepreneurs in their own right. My mum set
up her own architecture practice as well as raising four children, she was also the
third ever female president of the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland in 180 years.
My dad set up his company over 20 years ago in the logistics industry, and has
scaled it to over 60 staff. They have both been role models for me since I was very
young, and continue to advise me today.
Did you have prior knowledge of the industry before setting up your company?
No, however I have become completely obsessed with it over the last two years.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was from Devan Hughes of
Buymie who said that I had to know absolutely every detail within the industry I was
attempting to disrupt. By understanding every nuance of every problem, and
transforming from an amateur to a professional, it was the only way to stand a
chance of holding my own as a 22 year-old in a traditional industry like market
research. I have attempted to become a human sponge, soaking in as much
information from as many people and sources as possible since we set out on this
What was your previous work experience (if any)? Do you think this gave you
an advantage when setting up your business?
I can’t say as a part-time bartender in college, that launching a market research
platform would be the obvious next step in my career! We began working on this
when I was 20 years-old in third year of Trinity, and I think we benefited significantly
from having a completely fresh approach to an industry that was built on traditional
methodologies, ideas and relationships. I think this new perspective has given a
significant edge, and a freedom to approach problems in new ways.
How did you initially fund your business? (self-funded, government funding,
Over the last eighteen months, we have had immense support from so many
different organisations. We managed to win prize money of €2,500 from winning
competitions in university, as well as receiving €10,000 for Tangent’s Launchbox
Accelerator in the summer of 2019. We also received a grant from Techstars &
Blackstone for $10,000, a Local Enterprise Office Priming Grant for just shy of
€20,000 to keep the business going while Brian & I were finishing university. Most
recently, we closed a round of €150,000 privately, as well as being approved for
co-funding of €250,000 from Enterprise Ireland in their High Potential Start-Up Unit
which has been brilliant. We are hoping to close this Seed Round of €650,000 by Q1
2021 which shall help us launch into the UK and expand the team.
Looking back, would you have changed the method of funding you chose?
Absolutely not, we feel we have had an incredibly funding journey to date with a lot
of faith placed in our hands to deliver on expectations. As we started as a
student-led company, we received a significant amount of equity-free funding and
support to build our technology and scale out our operations. By the time we left
university and began raising serious funding, we were far ahead of traditional
start-ups, and had all of our ducks in a row to secure funding mid-pandemic.
What difficulties, if any, did you encounter when securing funding?
It’s always a tricky process securing funding, as you are constantly trying to alter
your tone, your vision and your strategy slightly, depending on the investor you are
pitching to. At an early stage like ours, most investment will be because they believe
in you as a team and your ability to turn what you have into something viable no
matter what problems arise in the future. We had to try and balance the
unstructured, emotive pitching to private investors, with the highly structured,
meticulously-planned funding application with Enterprise Ireland. So, it became quite
difficult to manage every stakeholder as we tried to balance the expectations and
demands of each investor over those few months.
Did you encounter any financial difficulties in the first year of operation? If
yes, what did you do to surpass them?
Absolutely – when the pandemic hit in March 2020, we were saved by the LEO
Priming Grant. Brian & I were well into our final 10 weeks before our exams, and we
were doing late evenings and weekends to keep Bounce above water while Ronan,
Brandon & Josh were building out the product. In a matter of weeks, we lost all
revenue and all of our partnered retailers who effectively allowed our mobile app to
function. We had to dig deep to get the funding grant to keep the three software
engineers paid, move our entire marketplace online, while we lost thousands of
users and saw all revenue stopped; it was easily the most stressful few months of
my life between graduating university while trying to save our company.
What characteristics do you feel benefited you most when starting your
Self-accountability, intrinsic motivation and the ability to articulate our vision
effectively. By being accountable, you can become really effective in managing tasks
and delivering on expectations. By maintaining intrinsic motivation, you can keep
working relentlessly towards a goal regardless of receiving no salary, a pandemic
almost killing your business and those dark moments where doubt becomes the
leading emotion. Finally, the ability to articulate our vision and communicate the
problems within the industry has been essential to winning clients, hiring employees
and convincing investors.
To what do you attribute your company’s success/growth to?
Without a shadow of a doubt, it is our team. I have no idea how we have gotten so
lucky to have met in university. Each of us bring out the best in each other, we have
made the experience incredibly challenging while maintaining the element of
excitement that we all love with having a start-up. No matter what the problem is you
are solving, no matter what the industry, no matter what issues crop up, if you have
the right team and attitude, you can emerge out of almost anything successful.
What is your opinion on the importance of a professional network for an
It is an absolute necessity. For want of a better phrase, your net worth is your
network. I don’t mean your net worth in a financial sense, I think it carries far more
weight when relating to the immeasurable value of being able to lean on advisors,
pick the brain of experts, and be shown the ropes by those who have been there
before you. As a young founder, growing that network of people you can trust and
rely on has been fundamental to scaling Bounce.
Do you think entrepreneurship has changed in recent years?
I think it has certainly become more accessible. When I was doing my Leaving
Certificate back in 2016, we had countless ‘professionals’ come in to speak about
career paths we could consider, and there was not a single entrepreneur who told us
that we could start our own company. Now in 2020, there is a wealth of resources,
organisations and universities who prioritise entrepreneurship, taking risks and
providing the resources necessary to make it happen. Not to mention the influence of
role models like Shane Curran, Devan Hughes, The Collison’s and many others who
are leading the way for entrepreneurs in Ireland today.
Would you ever consider starting another company or involving yourself in
new start-ups again?
There’s not a doubt in my mind that I will set up another company, regardless of
whether Bounce succeeds or fails. We always laugh about it within our founding
team that no matter how much emotional turmoil this career path gives us, we will
always cherish the challenge and live for the highs of it all. I hope that I am part of
many more companies in the future, and continue to fight for change in industries
that need it.
If you had one piece of advice for a new entrepreneur, what would it be?
Execution is everything, so find a team and start today. There is the common
misconception that success is down to having the perfect idea, and that idea will just
naturally scale itself out to become a million-euro company. That is simply not true, it
is the bottom 90% of the entrepreneurial iceberg where success lies. My biggest
piece of advice is to find yourself a team that you trust, and identify an initial idea or
industry that you feel you can make a real difference in. Once there is the right
passion to improve something, and the right team driving that improvement, you are
onto a winner.