Wunderlist, a popular task management app from Berlin-based 6Wunderkinder, has built up a loyal following of some six million users, with about one-third of them in the U.S. and nearly 241 million “to-do”s logged to date. Now TechCrunch understands that the startup is closing in on a round of investment that could help it ramp up even more.
6Wunderkinder has raised a Series B round of around $30 million, which it plans to use in part to open up an office in the U.S. The round sees Sequoia Capital come on as a new investor alongside existing backers Earlybird and Atomico. It’s Sequoia’s first investment in Germany.
While term sheets have been signed, there are still some formal German clearances that need to be finalized before the company goes public with the news, we’ve heard. One source pegs the company at a $60-65 million valuation; another disputes that. If the $30 million funding number is accurate, that may have been pre-money. Prior to this, 6Wunderkinder had raised some $4.86 million in publicly disclosed funding. In addition to Earlybird and Atomico, that also includes T-Ventures, the investment arm of Deutsche Telekom, participating in a seed round of an undisclosed amount.
Wunderlist said in September that it had passed 5.3 million users, but we have heard that the number is over 6 million now. More importantly, the company has been seeing a strong rise in engagement on the app, specifically for its team-focused, paid Pro product introduced in April of this year, and enhanced since then with features such as comments to encourage more collaboration.
It was apparently the growing conversion and loyalty from existing users that was behind the investor enthusiasm. Sequoia, we have heard, took all of a week to meet with and then decide to invest in the company — in September, perhaps?
While this investment may be Sequoia’s first in Germany, the company — with newly knighted Welshman Sir Michael Moritz as chairman — is not exactly a stranger to Europe. Others include Songkick in the UK, Skyscanner in Scotland, and Klarna in Sweden.
When you consider how many task management and productivity apps are on the market today, it’s a testament to 6Wunderkinder that it has managed to make one that is so easy to use, and so well used. It’s also a strong reminder of just how easy it is to make apps that appear similar to others, but it is far more difficult to make just one that works just as it should — that attention to making a perfect product has sometimes kept Wunderlist from getting tons of upgrades in short succession.
Wunderlist sits alongside and complements other mobile-centered productivity/organization apps like Dropbox and Evernote — coincidentally also Sequoia portfolio companies. If Dropbox is where you store large files, and Evernote is where you log notes about what you are doing during the day, then Wunderlist is where you can track and remind yourself of when you are supposed to get there, and other things that you have to do. I’d wager that over time we’ll see Wunderlist add even more dynamic functionality to that central premise, focusing specifically on premium features to drive more conversion on its paid products.
We at TechCrunch have just returned from a week in Berlin for our first Disrupt event in Europe (it was fun). Speaking to startups based in the city, one theme I heard more than once was that Berlin is great for hatching ideas and bootstrapping (relatively cheap to live there compared to somewhere like London; a vibrant community of creative people). But, the thinking goes, when you are serious about scaling, then you need to look West, specifically to the U.S.
This seems to be what Wunderlist has been doing and what it will be doing more of in the future. The U.S. has long been a focus for the German startup, both in terms of marketing itself to new users, and even in its office culture, with English the lingua franca at the HQ.
6Wunderkinder has had a good run with Wunderlist so far, but not everything has run as smoothly. 6Wunderkinder last year shut down Wunderkit, a project management app it had built and was still in beta, because it wasn’t scaling fast enough — especially in comparison to Wunderlist.
Going forward, 6Wunderkinder’s CEO and co-founder Christian Reber will be spending significantly more time over there building a business development team in a new office in Silicon Valley. The product and technical folks, meanwhile, will remain based in Berlin. Even in Germany, though, there will be a strong U.S. influence, by way of Chad Fowler, joined as CTO from LivingSocial in February of this year and will be running the team there.