3 things to remember when diversifying your startup’s cap table

Making purposeful decisions on diversity and inclusion in the workplace goes beyond simply building your team.

As a minority female entrepreneur and co-founder of a women’s health startup, ensuring diversity within our cap table has been a must — and has proven instrumental to our success. Breaking down your cap table to diversify your investors based on a variety of criteria will provide far more value than funding alone.

I have spent the last 10 years working in women’s health, and the lack of diversity in investors and leadership baffles me. From the inception of my company until now, diversifying our cap table has been a top priority that will continue to serve as a key factor when bringing in investment.

Prioritizing diversity will bring a wealth of knowledge, perspective and expertise to the table. We knew that to make this happen, we had to focus on building a product and team that people wanted to invest in. Many startups talk about wanting to adding diversity to their cap table, but how should you go about it?

Set your investor criteria from the beginning

My co-founders and I were all in agreement that we would select our investors based on a variety of factors, such as type of investor (VC, angel, family office, etc.), gender, race, expertise and a deep passion for our mission. While arriving at these criteria, my co-founders and I wrote down reasons why each factor was important to us.

Breaking down your cap table to diversify your investors based on a variety of criteria will provide far more value than funding alone.

As a startup tackling a problem that affects women globally, it was particularly important for us to have women investors, racially diverse investors and industry professionals who understood the magnitude of the problem we were trying to solve.

Recent studies have shown that women and people of color disproportionately experience medical gaslighting. Seeking out investors who fit this profile was critical to onboarding people who we felt would share our passion for our work and be supportive along the way.

When setting your criteria, you should define your goals clearly and identify the value each investor will bring to the table. As a team, think about what you would want if you could have it your way and why.

Second-largest crypto exchange FTX expands its empire with launch of stock trading feature

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is launching stock trading capabilities for its customers through its U.S. division. The company, helmed by co-founder and billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, said in an announcement that its launch will start in private beta mode for a select group of customers chosen from a waitlist before a full rollout in late 2022.

FTX, which is the second-largest crypto exchange in the world, says it will offer “hundreds of U.S. exchange-listed securities, including common stocks and ETFs,” including fractional shares in certain securities.

Notably, FTX plans to route all orders through Nasdaq rather than a third-party market maker. The exchange says it will not receive payment for order flow (PFOF), a method for order fulfillment Robinhood became notorious for that involves the exchange receiving payment from market makers for directing orders their way. It’s a controversial way of clearing trades because it often means the investor doesn’t receive their shares at the best possible price since the market maker profits from the spread.

Robinhood continues to employ PFOF because it can bring in substantial revenue from the third-party market makers. FTX, in contrast, will be foregoing profits from its stock trading offering because it is offering the service to users with no fee or commission charged in exchange.

FTX also says it will allow users to fund their brokerage accounts on the platform with fiat-backed stablecoins such as USDC (these are different from algorithmic stablecoins like Terra (UST), which are backed by other cryptocurrencies and don’t hold reserves in the traditional sense). The exchange says it will be the first to offer this capability, though users can also fund their accounts by standard means through wire transfers, ACH transfers and credit card deposits.

FTX also won’t require customers to hold any minimum balance in order to qualify for the no-fee account, it said.

The announcement marks a pivotal moment in Bankman-Fried’s vision to expand FTX from an institutionally focused platform with deep trading roots to an exchange that serves the broad range of needs of retail investors. Bankman-Fried revealed in a filing last week that he had bought shares in Robinhood worth 7.6% of the company, which could mark another move toward that end.

“What we eventually want to offer is an everything app for financial services,” Brett Harrison, FTX.US’s president, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

How Untapped Global plans to bring the revenue financing model to African startups

In the developed world, almost anyone can get financing for, say, a car lease. But in an emerging economy like South Africa, the only people who own cars or can even get a car lease are the people who already have something to collateralize, or a payslip to work off. As a result, small businesses, especially in Africa, have a $5.2 trillion financing gap, according to the World Bank.

Untapped Global wanted to re-think this situation by allowing small businesses to use their ongoing revenues as collateral and enable that by being able to track their assets. So, for example, if an African entrepreneur wanted to buy a water treatment system for a new business, they wouldn’t normally be able to afford it. Instead, they could use the Untapped platform as collateral to get a machine, and Untapped would take a share of the revenue of the water they sell. So now they can start a business and start earning revenues without going through the process of doing a traditional lease of a machine.

Untapped has now launched the public beta of its platform, which uses real-time data to track the assets and revenue of the entrepreneurs who use its platform. The idea is to provide transparency for international investors looking to tap into Africa and other emerging markets. Funded by a $10.3 million USD debt and equity pre-seed round that closed in March, this platform uses a model called ‘Smart Asset Financing’. This enables it to finance revenue-generating assets for entrepreneurs and SMEs in emerging markets. It does this by using IoT from assets such as the network of motorcycles in a fleet or, say, a Wifi-connected ‘smart’ irrigation system.

The model thus assesses the risk of an investment to secure the returns for investors.

It’s now financed assets for over 5,000 entrepreneurs who work across sectors such as clean water, solar, e-mobility, and inclusive fintech. The company claims to have an annual revenue run rate of $2.5M.

Jim Chu, CEO and founder of Untapped Global, says Untapped is taking advantage of the wave of digitization that’s happening across Africa and other emerging markets, which now makes this model possible.

Jim Chu, Untapped Global

Jim Chu. Image Credits: Untapped Global

“We created Untapped to get capital to entrepreneurs in markets who are often excluded from funding opportunities, while simultaneously ensuring transparency for investors… Our data has shown that for every $1 invested, more than $3 of value is created in local economies,” he said in a statement.

Excitingly (for the planet), most of Untapped global’s portfolio companies are building climate action solutions, including solar irrigation farms, electric mobility companies, and clean water systems.

Chu says it only takes $300 to start investing in these entrepreneurs and there are no monthly fees, because the platform shows real-time data on the impact and activity of the investments.

Chu says he started investing in emerging markets about 12 years ago, investing in over 80 companies across Africa, mostly as an equity investor: “But I kept coming across deals that were like ‘Wow, this is a great company, great cash flows, but I would never invest in this company as there were no exits’, and other reasons. Equity investing would also impose a burden on the entrepreneurs.”

So he started doing revenue-based financing, taking a percentage of the revenue going forward. But he then started coming across companies that were essentially tech-enabled companies that had figured out that their customers needed some kind of embedded financing in their product. Most of these companies were hardware companies, using motorcycles, cars, or similar. But these were rapidly also becoming smart cars, smart motorcycles, smart Wi-Fi systems, smart irrigation systems, you name it, and using IoT.

As a result, Chu hit upon revenue-based financing: “We’ll take all the data from your assets and use that as a way to manage how your business is doing. In fact, forget the whole usual way of doing due diligence and risk management underwriting that bank usually want, like balance sheets etc. Instead we would look at, well, how much is a motorcycle going to earn over the course of its lifetime? And how much will it earn over the course of the year? Can we pay off that motorcycle in a year? And so we created this model.”

The platform is now accessible to accredited investors, and will be available for retail investors at the end of 2022.

Here’s a video explainer:

What’s more stable than Bitcoin or UST? AriZona Iced Tea

ICYMI, stablecoins are in deep shit right now, and the chaos that unfolded this week has thrown the entire crypto ecosystem into turmoil with over $400 billion in losses from just one coin alone. In these times of uncertainty, all we can rely on is that we can purchase a can of AriZona Iced Tea for 99 cents, the same price that the refreshing beverage sold for in 1996. Mossy, a collective of three techy artists, thinks that an (unofficially) AriZona-backed stablecoin can save the crypto economy.

A stablecoin, as the name implies, is supposed to be stable because it tracks the value of another asset — similar to how gold bars once backed the U.S. dollar during gold-standard times.

In the case of TerraUSD (UST), formerly one of the largest stablecoins that fell from grace this week, each UST coin was supposed to stay consistently equivalent in value to one U.S. dollar. But there were no physical reserves — instead, the group behind UST used algorithms and reserves of other cryptocurrencies to manage its price. That system went haywire, leading some holders of UST to withdraw their money, and before investors knew what had hit them, the panic and fear compounded and UST was trading as low as nine cents on the dollar. UST’s sudden collapse has led to over $400 billion in losses for investors over the past week or so, leaving people to question the, well, stability of stablecoins as a whole.

Mossy’s solution for the calamitous sector, a stablecoin called USDTea, is backed by what they claim is America’s most stable asset: cans of AriZona Iced Tea. For over 30 years, AriZona founder Don Vultaggio has been working tirelessly against inflation to keep the cost of each can at exactly 99 cents, playing hardball with suppliers to keep input costs low and sacrificing his own profit for the sake of consistency.

As for Mossy, you may have seen their work before. The group launched the “Non-fungible Olive Gardens” project that got them in some hot water over copyright laws as well as the “Blockedchain” NFTs that only Twitter users who have been blocked by famed (and pugnacious) venture capitalist Marc Andreessen can mint.

Mossy quietly announced the USDTea stablecoin project on Twitter one and a half hours before selling out all 1,000 tokens they initially supplied. We sat down with Brian Moore, one of the three members of the artists’ collective — another member is Mike Lacher, who recently went viral for his AI that harshly judges your music taste, while the third member chooses to remain anonymous. Moore regaled us with his (mostly) straight-faced, highly serious explanation of Mossy’s ambitions to bring stability to an unstable world — one can of iced tea at a time.

TC: So, who are you? What is this collective that tries to save crypto through AriZona Iced Tea?

BM: We’re a little group called Mossy, and the last three things we’ve made have all been web3 projects. We created non-fungible Olive Gardens, and then we did Blockedchain, which was an NFT series that you can only mint if you’re blocked by specific people on Twitter, like Marc Andreesen. And now the latest is USDTea, which is a stablecoin that’s linked to the most stable asset we know on planet Earth, which is AriZona Iced Tea.

Can you literally connect your wallet to this and get a token? 

Well, first of all, I just got word that we are fully out of the 1,000 that we started with [after about an hour and a half post-launch]. That’s the weirdness of this world. It was the same thing with non-fungible Olive Gardens; we quietly released it, and then it was gone within I think 10 hours.

AriZona Iced Tea might be $0.99, but what about gas fees?

The way the flow works is the fees aren’t super high. It’s an ERC 20 token. I bought some and I think it was, you know, negligible, like $4 or something in gas fees. And then, just like any other stablecoins that are pegged to currency, you can always switch back. In this case, you can burn your USDTea and we will ship you cans of AriZona Iced Tea, because it wouldn’t be backed by it if we didn’t actually do that. So we have our strategic reserves of AriZona Iced Tea to use if people want to convert it back at any given time.

Do you actually have 1,000 cans of tea? 

It’s 1,000 cans where we’re starting. That might expand in the future. And if we do that, I think we’d probably be open to external auditing depending on the situation, but currently, we’ve got 1,000 cans basically, and we will distribute them as necessary. Right now we do have reserves split around different locations around the U.S.

Do you make these satirical web3 projects as your full-time job?

The more we do this, the more it becomes something that is more full time, but I’d say we’re mostly artists.

How many people are you?

We’re three people. So we’re pretty … I guess the word would be nimble. It allows us to make things very quickly. In the case of the destabilization of currency-pegged cryptocurrencies, you know, when did that whole snafu go down? We’re trying to bolster the crypto economy as quickly as possible, and we can only do that with a small team.

Did you conceive of this idea last week when Terra was collapsing?

Exactly. There’s something to be said about the stability of stablecoins, right? That’s half the word, stable. And then you think, what’s the most stable thing you can imagine? AriZona Iced Tea, you really can’t beat it.

How do you make money off of this, or is making money not the goal? 

It’s not necessarily the goal, really, but I think we want to support ourselves at some point. We’re in the interest of making interesting work on the internet, and that is the ultimate goal. If it makes us money, great, and if it doesn’t, then that’s fine too. Ultimately, we’re just making interesting things — making people think, making people laugh, or, you know, stabilize their assets in canned iced teas.

How would you make money?

These are fungible assets, so it’s meant to be more of a currency replacement than, say, an individual art piece. One USDTea is equal to one USDTea. There’s no one of them that’s better than the other or rarer than the other. They’re all equal to one can of AriZona’s Iced Tea.

But to redeem your can of tea, you have to pay a $20 flat processing fee. What is that fee?

That’s just literally the logistics of shipping. That’s not a money-making scheme to make profit off of the transaction; it’s to get you your personalized tea assets that you can store in your own location.

On your website, you have the question “what happens when ETH crashes?”, and you say that you update the ETH/USDTea to match ETH/USD from time to time. What does that entail?

It just means that as Ethereum might change in price, we want to match that so the rate ends up being around 99 cents.

How often will you do that? I imagine you don’t have an algorithm.

No, there’s no algorithm yet. That might come in the future — it all depends on how wide we expand this. We’re taking it one step at a time. This has been about 90 minutes worth of launch time, so once we stabilize our own situation, we’ll figure out what we need to do.

Obviously, Terra was the inspiration for this project. Do you have any opinions or takes about what happened, and how Terra’s handling that? 

I think our company speaks through the work itself. We’re here to try to stabilize an unstable world, so I think that backing our assets in a new, innovative and most importantly stable asset … I think that sort of says all that we need to say about that situation.

An anteater is pictured

An anteater. Image Credits: MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Would you say you’re bullish or bearish on crypto? 

Are we bullish? Are we bearish? I don’t know. I think we’re exploring it. We love it as a medium through which to make interesting art pieces. I don’t think we necessarily have an answer or have an animal to assign to it. You can just say anteater or something like that.

Starting up remotely? Keep these labor laws and tax guidelines in mind

When it comes to remote employment, employees and employers both face a plethora of benefits and pitfalls. While the cultural pros and cons have been covered, considerations from a setup and maintenance standpoint largely haven’t been addressed. There are important legal and tax implications to keep in mind when it comes to a remote workforce.

Virtual teams existed well before COVID-19, but over the last two years, employees turned not being able to go into an office into a benefit by moving out of their employer’s state. For startups, hiring out-of-state employees became common, as remote-first businesses were created from scratch and talent was vastly more critical than location.

Should your startup start or go remote, keep the following in mind.

Tax implications

Remote workforces have tax implications for their companies. Specifically, there is a state payroll withholding tax. This is generally required for the state where an employee works or provides services, regardless of an employer’s location. This means your startup may need to register and withhold income taxes in several states.

These are complicated issues, and often, the best approach is to engage an expert early.

Here are the questions we ask clients:

  1. What are your sales and revenue by state?
  2. Where are your employees located?
  3. Where is your office located, as well as any other property?

Dollar amounts and property locations matter because each state has a different threshold when it comes to defining whether a nexus (more on that in a moment) has been established or not.

This isn’t something you can ignore. States do pay attention. When you register with a government agency, the state receives your tax ID number and other identifying information. This means you’ve got a presence in that state, and your business will be monitored and pursued for any resulting tax liabilities.

For example, one of our clients was stalled during an acquisition last year because they were discovered to be out of compliance with their remote workforce. So, it’s critical to register in each state where you have employees.

Considering the “nexus”

How to evolve your DTC startup’s data strategy and identify critical metrics

Direct-to-consumer companies generate a wealth of raw transactional data that needs to be refined into metrics and dimensions that founders and operators can interpret on a dashboard.

If you’re the founder of an e-commerce startup, there’s a pretty good chance you’re using a platform like Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, and one of the dozens of analytics extensions like RetentionX, Sensai metrics or ProfitWell that provide off-the-shelf reporting.

At a high level, these tools are excellent for helping you understand what’s happening in your business. But in our experience, we’ve learned that you’ll inevitably find yourself asking questions that your off-the-shelf extensions simply can’t answer.

We’re generally big fans of plug-and-play business intelligence tools, but they won’t scale with your business. Don’t rely on them after you’ve outgrown them.

Here are a couple of common problems that you or your data team may encounter with off-the-shelf dashboards:

  • Charts are typically based on a few standard dimensions and don’t provide enough flexibility to examine a certain segment from different angles to fully understand them.
  • Dashboards have calculation errors that are impossible to fix. It’s not uncommon for such dashboards to report the pre-discounted retail amount for orders in which a customer used a promo code at checkout. In the worst cases, this can lead founders to drastically overestimate their customer lifetime value (LTV) and overspend on marketing campaigns.

Even when founders are fully aware of the shortcomings of their data, they can find it difficult to take decisive action with confidence.

We’re generally big fans of plug-and-play business intelligence tools, but they won’t scale with your business. Don’t rely on them after you’ve outgrown them.

Evolving your startup’s data strategy

Building a data stack costs much less than it did a decade ago. As a result, many businesses are building one and harnessing the compounding value of these insights earlier in their journey.

But it’s no trivial task. For early-stage founders, the opportunity cost of any big project is immense. Many early-stage companies find themselves in an uncomfortable situation — they feel paralyzed by a lack of high-fidelity data. They need better business intelligence (BI) to become data driven, but they don’t have the resources to manage and execute the project.

This leaves founders with a few options:

  • Hire a seasoned data leader.
  • Hire a junior data professional and supplement them with experienced consultants.
  • Hire and manage experienced consultants directly.

All of these options have merits and drawbacks, and any of them can be executed well or poorly. Many companies delay building a data warehouse because of the cost of getting it right — or the fear of messing it up. Both are valid concerns!

Start by identifying your critical metrics

Greenlight, a $2.3B fintech focused on kids, launches credit card for parents

Greenlight, the Atlanta, GA-based fintech company that pitches parents on kid-friendly bank accounts, is launching a credit card.

The Greenlight-branded card, offered through Mastercard, offers up to 3% unlimited cash back on all purchases and gives parents the option to automatically invest those cash rewards in mutual funds and ETFs to spend on family-related expenses, co-founder and CEO Tim Sheehan told TechCrunch.

Parents must opt into the automatic investment feature, and if they don’t want their funds invested in the ETFs Greenlight pre-determines are relatively safe, they can also choose to invest that cash in other ways through Greenlight’s investment app or opt for the cash to go directly to their bank account, Sheehan said.

It seems the card’s purpose of helping parents save for their children’s education is reflected in the way it’s being marketed, but ultimately, it functions very similarly to any other credit card that offers cash back to users. Its differentiator, Sheehan said, is in its ability to allow parents to invest those rewards automatically rather than having to do so manually if they choose that option. Plenty of investment platforms including Bank of America, Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer credit cards that automatically invest cash rewards into the market, but Greenlight hopes its focus on families and their needs will help it stand out.

Sheehan said the company considered designing the card so cash back accrued into a 529 plan, a tax-advantaged educational savings account parents can open on behalf of their children. Ultimately, he said, Greenlight decided against that option.

“We looked at the 529, and we just decided, after talking to really a lot of parents, that they basically valued flexibility over the small tax benefit of the 529. Essentially, they said, I would rather have the flexibility and not be penalized to use the money for anything my family needs,” Sheehan said.

The company booked over $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2021, and crossed the 5 million mark in terms of the number of parents and children on the app, Sheehan said. It raised $260 million in a Series D funding round led by a16z in April last year that nearly doubled its prior valuation to $2.3 billion.

Start up solo, or bring on a co-founder? 4 factors to consider

Every journey to entrepreneurship is unique. I find the world of startups fascinating because the desire to address a problem or need — often one you’ve struggled with yourself — is just too tempting to resist.

Taking on that problem on your own as a solo founder can be daunting, but it can also be freeing. Alternatively, starting up a company with co-founders can be productive yet could have its own challenges.

When I started DocSend, I never had to consider whether or not I wanted a co-founder, because I knew I wanted to build a company with two specific people that I liked personally and respected professionally. But for many entrepreneurs, the question of whether you can take on that challenge by yourself or want a co-founder by your side isn’t an easy one. It’s understandable why.

Going solo can give you more control and freedom to lead the company the way you see fit. It also means you’re the only one responsible for pitching VCs, running board meetings, staffing a team, and making major decisions.

While a solo founder can bring on executives and managers to help with this work and these decisions, co-founders can balance out the leadership team. They can bring different areas of expertise, their own professional networks, and share responsibility.

While the data show solo founders raise more funding, a holistic approach to understanding your gaps and how to fill them is imperative.

If you are starting up a company or currently running your startup all by yourself, here are four things to consider when bringing in a co-founder (or not).

Expertise

Every entrepreneur should objectively assess their skills and determine if their capabilities are well-rounded enough to run a business alone. If you’re not technical and you are starting a tech company, you may need to find a co-founder who fills that gap, or at the very least a strong engineer to lead product development.

Even if you’re technical and can begin coding from day one, you need to consider other key business areas and decide if bringing on a co-founder with expertise in those areas will allow you to get to a viable product, market traction and revenue faster.

I reached out to my network to see how they felt about the decision. I recently spoke with Aneto Okonkwo, co-founder and CEO of Chatdesk, about why he decided to bring in multiple co-founders, and he said that different areas of expertise are a big driver.

“I thought about the different functions needed to make Chatdesk successful. Since we bring together tech and personalized, human support, it was important to establish three functions: technical, operations, and sales. I knew if each person could own an area, it would ensure we would achieve our mission,” he said.

The number of founders on your team may also impact your fundraising success. Our analysis found that solo founders had the most fundraising success, securing an average of 42 investor meetings and raising an average of $3.22 million, compared to companies with four or more founders, which secured an average of 30 meetings and raised an average of $1.7 million.

While the data show solo founders raise more funding, a holistic approach to understanding your gaps and how to fill them is imperative.

Founding employee versus co-founder

Amazon’s Alexa app now asks customers to scan their shopping receipts for cashback rewards

It’s been said that no one uses Alexa for voice-based shopping. But retail giant still sees the potential for Alexa as a shopping companion — just in a different way. That’s why this month the company quietly rolled out a new feature designed to boost consumers’ use of Alexa’s Shopping Lists: cashback offers.

The company confirmed to TechCrunch it introduced “Alexa Shopping List Savings,” which puts rebate offers from brands and manufacturers directly into consumers’ hands through the Alexa app, its mobile companion app for Echo device owners. The company says the offers will be displayed in the Alexa Shopping List section within the app and then can be used across retail stores nationwide to help customers save money.

To use the feature, you’d first select the offers of interest and activate them in the app, then visit your favorite grocery store, drug store, or chain store to buy the product, the Amazon website explains in an FAQ. The details about the offers around how they can be applied are also available in the app, Amazon notes. When you’ve completed your purchase, shoppers claim their rebate by taking a photo of the store receipt that shows the store’s name, location, date and time of purchases, product price, and total, then submit it to Amazon through the app. Customers also have to scan the barcode on the product itself to complete the process.

Amazon will send the rebate to the customer via their Amazon Gift Card account. This process may take up to a week, but typically takes just 24-48 hours, Amazon says. The Gift Card balance can be used to shop across tens of millions of eligible products on Amazon.

Image Credits: Amazon

As you may expect, this system provides Amazon with a treasure trove of customer shopping data beyond just the offers customers were interested in and were redeeming.

The website notes that by choosing to participate in the Alexa Shopping List Savings program, customers are agreeing to share their personal information and data with Amazon:

“…we will get any information you provide, including receipt images and information we may extract from those receipts, and the offers you activate. You understand and acknowledge that your personal information may be shared with Amazon’s service providers.”

The data will be used and shared per Amazon’s privacy policy terms, the site notes. Further details were not provided.

Broadly, this business model is not unique to Amazon. Other apps offer similar tools to turn customers’ retail store receipts into “free” gift cards. (They’re not really free — you paid with your data!) For instance, apps like Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, Checkout51, and others make money through affiliate commissions, through the resale of customers’ anonymized data, or both, then share some of that revenue back with the customer in the form of cashback or gift cards.

Like rival apps, Amazon’s offers tend to be the same sort of grocery rewards you’d see elsewhere. This includes consumer packaged goods, health and beauty items, baby items, canned food, and more — not fresh groceries or other retail categories, like electronics or apparel.

Of course, some people don’t mind sharing their data with businesses in exchange for rewards or cashback — top apps like Fetch and Ibotta have millions of users, in fact. But consumers should be aware that Amazon’s privacy policy makes no promises of anonymizing any data nor does it explain in detail exactly how this data will be put to use.

The feature is live in the Amazon Alexa mobile app today.

Data-driven fintech Tifin valued at $842M in new $109M Series D round

There’s been talk throughout the venture ecosystem of a funding slowdown, but AI-powered fintech platform Tifin seems to be a clear exception.

The Boulder, Colorado-based startup, which aims to match investors with investments in the wealth and asset management industries, announced today that it has raised a $109 million Series D round, less than a year after its Series C last October. The round brings the company’s valuation to $842 million, nearly doubling the $447 million it was valued at after its Series C.

Investment manager Franklin Templeton and fintech venture firm Motive Partners joined the latest round as new investors, the company says. Existing investors also participated in the round, including private markets advisory firm Hamilton Lane, J.P. Morgan, Morningstar, and Broadridge. Motive Partners’ founder, Rob Heyvaert, will be joining Tifin’s board as part of the raise.

The company completed its Series A through Series D rounds in 18 months, raising ~$204 million total in funding, CEO and founder Vinay Nair told TechCrunch.

TIFIN founder and CEO Vinay Nair

Tifin founder and CEO Vinay Nair Image Credits: Tifin

Tifin operates two major divisions — an investment marketplace for consumers called Magnifi, and a B2B arm that works with wealth advisors and enterprises that provide financial services to consumers. Within its divisions, it operates a suite of seven products, some of which are homegrown and some of which came to the platform through acquisition, Nair said.

Since its Series C, the company acquired Qualis, which is focused on bringing private market investments to retail investors, according to Nair — a growing area of interest among wealth managers seeking to provide their clients with differentiated returns from the public markets. Tifin has also been focused on international expansion, growing its non-U.S. revenue by 2.5x since the last fundraise.

The firm has doubled its staff from 150 last October to 300 people today, illustrative of the company’s rapid growth of late, Nair said. According to Nair, Tifin’s products reach three to four million individuals directly, many of them through its network of about 3,000 financial advisors.

“After this round, we are driving towards profitability,” Nair said. “We are at a stage now, where up to now the focus was almost entirely on top-line growth, and now it’s on both the top line and bottom line.”

Nair said Tifin aims to see the B2B arm of the business reach profitability in the next 12 months, while the consumer side of the company is still in an earlier stage of growth and customer acquisition.

With the new funding, Tifin plans to invest in Magnifi’s search engine capabilities to help match investors to opportunities, Nair said.

TIFIN's Magnifi interface

Tifin’s Magnifi interface Image Credits: Tifin

He also noted that the company plans to build out its data capabilities, investing in a product it has built for asset managers to improve their distribution based on that data.

“We believe we can be the single largest data platform for the world of wealth and investments,” Nair said.

On the wealth management side, Nair attributes the company’s recent success to its focus on the advisor-client interaction and personalizing that experience, an area of expertise that differentiates it from the rest of the ecosystem that is “middle and back office-focused” from a tech standpoint.

“We work with a whole group of intermediaries, not just advisors. We can talk to consumer finance firms, tech firms, like SoFi or PayPal or Mint. These are all potential conduits for people to get wealth advice — we’re not restricted just to financial advisors,” Nair said.

Nair said that although hiring has been challenging for the company, similar to many startups, the exodus of talent from traditional finance and tech roles provides an opportunity for Tifin. He’s also looking to shore up the company’s capability in the midst of a potential market downturn, he said, though he also sees this as a potential opportunity for Tifin to stand out from less tech-native competitors.

“We think it will help us because in some ways digital distribution gets more funding relative to traditional distribution in these times because it’s more productive. If you look, people spent more on Amazon, not less, during the dotcom crisis. So in some ways, we think this would be the first time asset management will see that shift,” Nair said.