The Bonavi founders Markus (left) and Niklas Ott.
The Berlin startup Bonavi has financial difficulties: Last week, The Happy Baby Company GmbH behind it filed an application to open insolvency proceedings. In the meantime, the preliminary proceedings have been opened, as the responsible lawyer Benedikt de Bruyn told Gründerszene. In this phase, which usually lasts two to three months, a court examines whether the application is justified.
Bonavi was founded in 2016 by the brothers Niklas and Markus Ott. In their online shop they sell a classic stroller and two buggy models as well as accessories such as diaper bags directly to end customers. The “direct-to-consumer” business model is no coincidence: Markus Ott was previously at the mattress startup Emma, which is pursuing the same approach. The Bonavi stroller costs around 800 euros. A lot of money – but the target group parents are willing to spend large sums on their offspring.
“Corona did the rest”
Why is Bonavi still having problems? According to lawyer de Bruyn, a financing round with a bank and the old shareholders came to a standstill. In addition to the founders, family and friends are involved in the startup. “The discussions with the investors dragged on and on,” explains de Bruyn in a telephone conversation with the start-up scene. “The company made losses that had to be covered by investors.” If financing is delayed in such a case, a company quickly faces problems. This situation is “not unusual for the startup scene”. Just recently, his law firm also managed the bankruptcy of the children’s fashion start-up Tausendkind.
But the delayed financing was not the only problem, according to founder Niklas Ott. “Corona did the rest,” he told Gründerszene. Because of the pandemic, trade fairs that would have brought Bonavi high sales last year were canceled. However, Ott does not want to comment on sales and customer numbers.
Today, Monday morning, he and his co-founder informed the team. The nine employees had known that Bonavi was in negotiations. “So it wasn’t a great surprise. Now everyone is motivated to come out of the crisis stronger, ”said Ott. Bonavi’s operations continue as before. They are now looking for new investors. He has already been approached by interested parties from the previous circle of shareholders as well as from outside, says de Bruyn. Ott is also optimistic: “It’s a very stable business, children are always born.”
Bonavi founder: “In the beginning we pushed an empty stroller through Berlin”
You studied at EBS, and today you are the boss of a startup that sells strollers. How did Markus and Niklas Ott get your product?