#19:The Inside, Facet Wealth +more📍

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PD Reporter is a weekly selection of exclusive interviews with early-stage founders and VC firms. Read by start-up founders, VCs, early-stage employees, and tech PR professionals. Sign up today to not miss the next edition. 

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Recent Startup Funding Announcements 💰

US—New York/SF

The Inside (Britt Bunn, co-founder and COO)

The Inside, a NYC-based home furnishings company, closed a $2.6M seed funding round.

  • How long did the round take to close: Eight weeks.

  • How many firms did you speak with: Over 20.

  • Comment on valuation: $10M post money

  • What capital will be used for: Growth: hiring, marketing, product expansion. 

  • Total amount raised to date: $1.5M pre-seed + $2.6M seed.

  • Competitive landscape: We are looking to win over the online consumer of home furnishings -- the person who is looking for design and style at compelling, sharp prices with direct-to-consumer, seamless online experiences.

  • Macro trends: Millennials are starting to buy homes and to furnish them, shifting disposable income from clothes and experiences to decorating and to nesting. At the same time, social media is making interiors even more important as they become the backdrop of peoples' lives. We are designing for this customer.

Cricket Health

Cricket Health, a San Francisco, CA-based tech-enabled provider of integrated kidney care, closed a $24m Series A funding round.

  • How long did the round take to close: We had our first investor pitches in April, so about four and a half months.

  • How many firms did you speak with: I think it was about 25-30.

  • What capital will be used for: We are using the funds to expand our HQ team (product/engineering, etc.), our clinical teams (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians) and also to build brick-and-mortar kidney health clinics.

  • Total amount raised to date: Almost $27M.

  • Competitive landscape: We certainly are an alternative to the traditional dialysis companies (like DaVita and Fresenius) as well as some disease management companies with kidney care offerings, which don't really do anything fundamental to change the current dynamic in kidney care.

  • Macro trends: For an industry that hasn't been particularly known for innovation, the landscape in kidney care is actually changing pretty quickly:

    (a) the frustration that commercial payers have with dialysis companies is at a boiling point, over the high rates they have to pay for dialysis care--well over $100K a year.  National payers are engaged in litigation, and there are legislative efforts in California and elsewhere to restrict some of the more egregious things going on regarding dialysis pricing. But increasingly, payers are beginning to realize that there are even more fundamental/transformative ways of bending the cost curve when it comes to kidney disease, and we think we provide the best solution to doing that. (b) the move to value based care is also in our favor.  Medicare Advantage plans are growing rapidly, but as of today, dialysis patients can't sign up for MA unless the MA plans offers a dialyis specials needs plan--so MA plans are somewhat shielded from exposure. Thats going to change in a couple of years, so MA plans are increasingly having to think about how to tackle CKD/ESRD costs. 

  • Other details: from a hiring prespective, the highest priority is to fill the open role is for a Chief Development Officer. Other open position can be found here.

US — Baltimore

Facet Wealth (Anders Jones, CEO)

Facet Wealth, a Baltimore-based next-generation financial services company, raised a $33M Series round earlier this month.

  • How long did the round take to close: We weren't actively fundraising when we met Warburg Pincus, and weren't planning on raising a round until Q4 of this year. When we spoke with the team there, it was clear that as thesis driven investors, they had the same vision of the future of wealth management as we do; so it was a very serendipitous match.

  • How many firms did you speak with: We only ran a formal process with Warburg, given that we weren't actively fundraising at the time. 

  • What capital will be used for: Facet Wealth will use the funding to partner with more firms and grow industry relationships, while we continue to develop and improve our client experience and productivity-enhancing technology for our own advisors.

  • Total amount raised to date: $37M.

  • Competitive landscape: We're not aware of anyone doing exactly what Facet Wealth does. We do not compete with RIAs, but offer them a better solution for their small accounts so they can meet capacity/growth/valuation goals without sacrificing the client experience for mass-affluent households or offloading them to a robo. We aren't comparable to robo-advisors as we do full planning, with a dedicated CFP (R) Professional. 

  • Macro trends: We see the increasing need for millions of mass affluent Americans to have access to high quality financial planning, at a price that makes sense. As the industry moves closer to a fiduciary standard, Facet Wealth is well positioned to give transparent and conflict-free advice to families who need it the most. At the same time, as advisors move upstream and focus on higher touch service for higher net worth clients, Facet is committed to being their partner to build and maintain healthier practices.

France

Evaneos (Eric La Bonnardière, co-founder)

Evaneos, a Paris, France-based marketplace for experiential travel, raised €70m in funding.

  • How long did the round take to close: It took us in total around 5 months: from decision to launch a process until closing

  • How many firms did you speak with: We talked to a limited number of funds with whom we’ve had a long-term relationship.

  • What capital will be used for: International development: We aim to grow our workforce, especially on our UK and US markets. Working alongside our new American investors, we’ll benefit from their expertise and speed up our development on this key market. At the same time, we’ll also invest heavily in growing Evaneos’ other markets; Digital experience: We’ll be working on a new user experience that will simplify, enrich, and personalise the preparation of our travellers’ trips. Evaneos plans to be present before, during, and after the trip via mobile and web interfaces, helping our travellers create authentic, customised tours in the most enjoyable way possible. Brand development: We want Evaneos to emerge as one of the world’s leading travel companies, with a strong set of values. We want to become the go-to brand for travellers curious about discovering the world.

  • Total amount raised to date: $107M.

  • Competitive landscape: As the pioneers of this model, we see local players in different markets and the US is no exception. That said, tailor-made travel is still a relatively new concept in the US, so we see this as being fairly untouched territory and are taking it as our role to present to US travelers the value proposition of both: a) tailor-made travel, and b) trips created with local expertise. I should add, we believe the market is big enough for different models to coexist, as long as there is strong added value for the traveler.

  • Macro trends: Overtourism is a key topic which is currently facing the industry, especially in Europe. We see travel agents based in the destination as a way to help curb the adverse effects of overtourism since as travelers are becoming more curious about the beach or town the locals would go to, as opposed to those often highlighted in the traveler’s home country. That said, if a travelers is going to Rome, 99% of the time, they won’t want to miss the Colosseum and our role isn’t to deny them this experience, rather to help find the best way or time for them to visit it.

  • Hiring: We are looking to recruit talents to help us launch and develop the North American market, two key roles which we are currently hiring for are Country Manager North America and Digital Marketing Manager North America. More details on both roles can be found on our jobs page.

UK

Apperio (Nicholas d'Adhemar, founder & CEO)

Apperio, a London, UK-based legaltech startup, raised $10m in a Series A funding round.

  • How long did the round take to close: We have been thinking about and working towards it for some time but the actual fundraise took about 6 months.

  • How many firms did you speak with: Apperio met with multiple institutional investors in the UK and beyond.

  • What capital will be used for: The funds will be used to grow all parts of the business. There is a particular focus on the Commercial and Customer Success functions to support our growing customer base and to promote international expansion. We are also continuing to invest in our technical team with multiple hires at each stage of the stack. Having already brought in several new hires and we have outgrown our old office and have just moved to a new HQ in Holborn, the heart of London’s legal district.

  • Comment on valuation: Private I’m afraid although the usual metrics apply. 

  • Total amount raised to date: £10.6m.

  • Competitive landscape: There is no direct competitor to Apperio, however, we are often compared to legacy ebilling software. The principal difference between Apperio and ebilling is our ability to provide real-time access to billing and work in progress (WIP) to corporate legal teams to give them a true picture of performance and exposure. In addition, Apperio is fully automated solution for both companies and their law firms that has a simple cloud setup, not a heavy on premise installation. 

  • Macro trends: Companies are waking up to legaltech and the commercial benefits that flow from a finely tuned legal department. At a macro level, legal teams will continue to be asked to do more with less. The only way they can achieve that is through the adoption of technology to drive efficiencies and insights. As the legal sector has historically under invested in technology, they have the ability to quantum leap to some of the other departments in their companies. They can adopt the best in class rather than incrementally improve. 

    The most interesting thing we’ve identified is the number of days it takes for a law firm to receive payment for a particular matter. From the data we’ve examined, it takes 145 days (median time) from the law firm actually carrying out the legal work to receiving payment. 95 of those days is the law firm waiting to invoice. One of the many advantages of Apperio is removing that surprise invoice. We help to speed up this process up so that both parties are always informed of costs along the way and conflict is removed from the billing process.

  • Hiring: We are hiring for many positions, including SDRs, SQL Developer and Data Scientists. See our careers page for more detail: https://www.apperio.com/work-with-us/

Unmortgage (Ray Rafiq-Omar, founder)

Unmortgage, a London-based fintech startup, raised £10m round earlier this month.

  • How long did the round take to close: The process of fundraising involved 6 months and meeting two dozen investors. We were fortunate to have multiple offers, which contributed to the delay in closing by three months.

  • What capital will be used for: Staff wages is what the raise is to cover. Very little of our fundraise - £10m to date - will go to other items like office space

  • Macro trends:  Urbanisation is the main macro trend that affects us - more people moving to cities leads to property prices continuing to rise faster than wages. Unmortgage is well placed to be the preference for renters vs landlords.