Zoe Financial, the lead generator that doesn’t collect a fee from RIAs unless a prospect becomes a client, said Monday that it raised another $3 million from venture capital firm ThirdStream Partners, and a slew of high-powered executives.
New York-based Zoe, which launched in February of 2018, has now raised a total of $5 million.
Business has been booming at Zoe this year, says founder and CEO Andres Garcia-Amaya, who told RIA Intel that previous, as well as new, investors clamored to participate in the latest round of fundraising.
Unlike most other lead generators, Zoe’s match-making service is free for advisors, and prospective clients, alike. If an investor becomes a client, their advisor then has to share revenue with Zoe in one of two ways.
Advisors who charge clients a flat annual fee pay Zoe a flat annual fee for five years. RIAs who charge clients a fee based on a percentage of their assets pay Zoe a slice of that revenue for as long as the investor is a client. Garcia-Amaya did not disclose what portion of revenue his company takes in either scenario.
Even if Zoe siphons just a few basis points of their advisors’ fees, that could add up, making for a lucrative business. For example, if an RIA paid the lead generator 10 basis points of their fee on a $1 million account, that would equate to a $1,000 cost every year.
In May, Zoe won Morningstar’s annual fintech competition. At the time, clients had given its network of advisors more than $100 million is assets. That has since grown to more than $150 million and Garcia-Amaya says the company could reach $200 million this year.
New assets under management by its advisors have been growing between 15% and 20% month-over-month this year and the rapid accumulation attracted notable investors, he said.
“Once you start getting to people that know the RIA space really well, this story really resonates with them,” Garcia-Amaya said.
Christopher Jones, a principal with CMVJ Capital, and previously a co-head of Active Equities at BlackRock, led a group of angel investors last fall that raised $2 million for Zoe. Now Jones, who is also the chair of the investment committee at Acorns, is investing more alongside others.
Robert Deutsch, the chairman of JPMorgan’s ETF board, is also investing more and continues to be an advisor to Zoe. He’s also on the board of JUST Capital.
George Gatch, the new CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management, and Stephanie DiMarco, the founder of software company Advent and the chair of the board of directors at SS&C Advent, also contributed to the latest pot.
Venture capital firm ThirdStream Partners became the first institution to invest in Zoe. The company has a history of investing in financial technology companies, including SoFi, Max Your Interest, ETF.com and Ethic, an asset manager that builds separately managed accounts through clients’ custom sustainability lenses.
Garcia-Amaya said angel investors put up the lion’s share of the new raise but declined to share how much each has contributed. The list of investors was intentionally kept short to ensure they “had some skin in the game.”
The founder said the $3 million seed round will be used to further develop its marketing strategy and expand its 12-person workforce, half who are software developers.
“What were’ starting to realize is that the advisor community was clamoring for something like this.”