Renae Bunster’s Bunsters Shit the Bed Hot Sauce is a crowd-pleaser – particularly among equity investors, who were reportedly buoyed by sales data from the product’s Woolworths debut.
Bunsters Shit the Bed banked a total of $3.9 million across three raises via Australian equity crowdfunding platform, Birchal. Bunster, a Perth mum and self-proclaimed ‘hot sauce queen’, broke equity crowdfunding records for the total amount of return investors – she reported 46% of investors in her third campaign were previous investors, compared to Birchal’s average of 6%.
“This extraordinary level of investor confidence not only underscores the compelling appeal of Bunsters but also cements their status as one of only seven companies in Australia to successfully complete three CSF offers raising $3.9million,” Birchal’s Emily Macfarlane said.
“Bunsters’ ability to consistently captivate and retain investor interest is a testament to their innovative approach and the strong, trust-based relationship they have cultivated with their investors.”
Bunsters launched in 2015, but hit mainstream with a Birchal crowdfunding raise in 2020 that saw the company bank $2 million. That raise made Bunster the highest crowdfunded female founder on the platform. And it’s proved a marketer’s dream – with taglines like ‘May cause anal leakage’, Bunsters’ products have gone on to be tested by celebrities like Natalie Portman, Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Goldbum, and bank a cult-like following.
The company’s last raise closed November 30 at 10pm, and brought in $649,800 from 371 investors – and it’s one of only seven companies to complete three Birchal campaigns. With the funds, Bunster is planning to fuel her hot sauce’s expansion in Woolworths – and open up new export markets, like the US.
For Birchal’s first raise, shares were priced at $2. For the second, in 2022, shares rose to $5, marking a 150% increase. And in 2023, Bunsters shares were valued at $6, marking a 200% increase since its first raise, and a 20% since its second.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the hot sauce market was last valued at US$3.09 billion in 2023, and is expected to grow to US$5.09 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 7.42%. The growth is reportedly being driven by customers’ increased inclination towards bold flavours – particularly amongst the younger generation.
The brand, which launched in Woolworths about four weeks ago with 10,000 bottles ordered and placement in 90 stores, is selling about 30 bottles per week per store, averaging 7 units per SKU. That’s compared to other products in the hot sauce category, which sell about 1 to 1.5 units per week per SKU, Bunster says.
“I’ve been speaking to investors the last few days who are angry they didn’t buy more shares at the 2020 price, I’m telling them they’ll be angry in a few years that they didn’t buy more at today’s price,” Bunster says.
The next step is the US, where the company has so far appointed a US distributor and sales team, and landed a partnership with Fortinos, a retail giant owned by Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws.
“What’s fuelling this phenomenal growth is a strategic distribution network and a passionate sales force in the United States,” Bunster says.
“Bunsters made a strong debut at a trade show in Canada in September, ultimately locking in the trial with Fortinos. With more trade shows planned next year in America, Bunsters is poised to take advantage of the sophisticated hot sauce market in the region, all while basking in the love for brand Australia. Honestly, the Canadians just couldn’t get enough of us.”
The founder also launched a range of Agave spirits in late November, one with a signature Shit the Bed twist – Charapita chillies, the most expensive chillies in the world. The bottles were put up for sale over the previous weekend, and Bunster reports she sold nearly 100 of them. “There is an extraordinary amount of interest in these products,” she says.