In the wake of the great recession of 2008, there was a lot of talk about making financial information easier for the layperson to understand, rather than allowing banks and lenders to use complex language to confuse them. That's what led to the Consumer Protection Bureau. It was also the idea behind SmartAsset, which launched with the goal of using technology and data to bring better financial advice to people.
Now the company has raised a $12 million Series B funding round, it was announced on Tuesday. The round was led by IA Capital Group along with "some of the best investors in the space." This round brings its funding to over $20 million.
Founded in 2012, the New York City-based SmartAsset offers tools, which are meant to help regular people make better financial decisions.
"We offer the web’s best and most comprehensive tools and content to empower financial decision-making. Utilizing over 130 different data sources we power the web’s best advice on topics like home buying, retirement planning, personal and student loans, credit card comparisons, taxes and more," Michael Carvin, CEO and co-founder of SmartAsset, told me.
The typical user would be, "Anyone who is making a big financial decision," who can then can gain information from the company’s free tools, calculators, advice and interactive infographics.
"Whether it’s buying a house, saving for retirement or going back to school, among other decisions, we offer holistic advice that is tailored to the user," said Carvin.
So, for example, is someone did want to buy a house, they can visit SmartAsset.com’s home buying guide and access tools that will help them make the decision. SmartAsset’s “how much house can I afford” tool takes into account a user’s income, location, savings and monthly debt obligations to offer advice on the amount a user should aim to spend on a house.
SmartAsset currently reaches 40 million people per month, and the company anticipate that the number will "grow exponentially over the next year." Its recently launched publisher solution, Captivate, is used by over 80 partners including CNN and AOL and, places the company's tools in relevant content across partner websites.
The company plans to use the funding expand the capability of its Automated Financial Modeling platform, build health and auto advice verticals. It currently has 35 employees and plans to add people to the team across all departments from product to sales and marketing in the coming year.
"Our goal is to be the go-to resource for advice on all big personal finance decisions. We currently offer advice on home buying, retirement planning, personal and student loans, refinance, and life insurance, among others. In order for us to be the most comprehensive resource we plan to expand into additional verticals this year starting with health and auto," said Carvin.
"We hope our users turn to SmartAsset for all their big financial decisions. Our goal is to be the resource people instinctively turn to when they’re in need of good financial advice. Not everyone can afford a financial advisor, and we view spending money to save money as counterproductive. SmartAsset provides users free tailored advice and an invaluable foundation for their future financial well-being."
In addition to the new funding, it was also announced that the company has three new board members: Andrew Lerner, Managing Partner of IA Capital Group; Mark Johnson, Partner at TTV Capital; and Thomas Evans, former CEO and Director of Bankrate. Jon Miller, former CEO & Chairman of AOL, has also joined as an advisor.
"As we continue our growth we’re lucky to have this intelligent and accomplished group of people join us. The expertise and experience they offer us is unparalleled," Carvin said about the new additions.
(Image source: smartasset.com)