Softbank leads Series A funding round for wealth management startup Zoe Financial

SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund led a $10m Series A round of funding into Zoe Financial, a digital marketplace for people to find and hire vetted independent financial advisers.

The round, which brought the firm’s total funding to $16.3m, was joined by a slew of angel investors including Aaron Schildkrout, investor at Addition & former global head of growth at Uber, Jessica Lachs, VP of data science at DoorDash, Chris Nakutis, former COO at Bird and Republic Labs. Existing investors Chris Jones, former Blackrock Equity CIO, Marie Chandoha, former CEO of Schwab Asset Management, ThirdStream Partners and Stephanie DiMarco, former CEO of Advent Software also participated in the round.

The company intends to use the funds to advance the development of its end-to-end digital products to deliver the most user-friendly experience for finding and hiring a financial advisor and to accelerate hiring to support its marketplace.

Led by Andres Garcia-Amaya, Zoe Financial’s marketplace allows consumers to find an independent, fiduciary financial advisor based on their unique financial objectives. It includes a curated network of independent, fiduciary and commission-free financial advisers, and financial planners based on Zoe’s proprietary quantitative assessment test and qualitative test which assesses their knowledge and process.

Advisors on Zoe Financial’s platform must have at least five years of experience and “no association with broker-dealers.” They are then interviewed with a focus on “their investment and planning process, their operations, technology and even the financial products they recommend,” it said.

Zoe’s Client Dashboard enables consumers to monitor their financial standings and schedule virtual appointments with experts.

There are now more than 2,600 independent advisors on the lead-gen platform and clients that have been matched with Zoe Network Advisors account for $410bn in assets under management, up 1,477% from a year earlier, it claimed.

On the firm’s goals, Garcia-Amaya said, “These milestones prove we are onto something big, but for each person who has hired a fiduciary advisor through Zoe, there are a million families being peddled expensive financial products by salespeople dressed up as advisors. It is time to accelerate Zoe’s trajectory in order to help millions of families, sooner.

“Our secret sauce is finding people that are intrinsically motivated and have the hunger to build a world-class product. We will be spending a lot of time hiring the best teammates we can find who are excited about our mission to empower Americans to make better financial decisions.”

Commenting on the round, SB Opportunity Fund managing partner Shu Nyatta said, “Zoe Financial is disrupting the financial advisory market through the implementation of technology, data and sector expertise. The SB Opportunity Fund is excited to partner with Zoe as it fuels the growth of independent advisory firms providing best-in-class, personalized advisory capabilities to a larger audience — including individuals who have been historically underserved by the market.”

Detailing on the firm’s future plans, Garcia-Amaya added that, “Zoe is building a digital ‘financial home’ for the consumer that sees the world the way they do. Where a client can communicate and collaborate with their financial experts and keep track of their financial progress all in one place.”

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