Global managed assets account for $74T in AUM. While institutional investors account for sixty percent of this amount, the remaining portion is managed by smaller institutions and advisers. Vise is the AI-powered investment management platform that empowers independent advisory practices. The company is focused on servicing the entire client-advisor relationship through automation while still allowing advisors to maintain a personalized relationship. Since launching in the fall of 2019, the company has already scaled to 50 employees, quadrupled its customer base since May, and counts investment firms like Aurelian Capital Partners, Barber Financial Group, and Hexagon Capital Partners as clients.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Samir Vasavada and Cofounder and CIO Runik Mehrotra to learn more about the market the company serves, future plans, and latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $60M+, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Vise closed a $45 million Series B funding round. Sequoia Capital led the Series B with participation from Allen & Company, Founders Fund, and Greenoaks Capital and from Michael Ovitz and Nikesh Arora, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, who will be joining as advisors.
Tell us about the product or service that Vise offers.
Vise is an all-in-one AI-powered investment management platform for independent advisory practices to build and manage portfolios. Vise supports the entire lifecycle of the advisor-client relationship through AI-powered automation. This includes determining different investment options and creating customized portfolios tailored to individual clients’ needs, values, and goals, that maximize financial opportunities while protecting against market turbulence — all within a clean interface.
What inspired the start of Vise?
We saw that the products and tools that existed to support independent RIAs were outdated and that there was a clear opportunity to use modern technology to automate investment management. Vise was built on the belief that humans — armed with the right technology — are more adept at handling the financial affairs of their clients than an app.
How is Vise different?
Vise brings everything an advisor needs for investment management to start, run, and grow a financial advisory practice in the most efficient, effective, and intelligent way into a single platform. Vise’s technology enables rapid and automated highly personalized portfolio creation and ongoing management, giving advisors significantly more time to focus on client relationships. The platform also guides investment advisors through talking points on the justifications behind each portfolio decision.
What market does Vise target and how big is it?
Vise serves US-based, independent registered investment advisers. The platform can be used equally effectively by firms of all sizes to manage any of their clients’ portfolios, no matter how large or how small.
What’s your business model?
Vise’s compensation for its investment management service includes an asset-based management fee, which is generally 0.50% of assets under management.
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How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
COVID-19 has amplified the importance of strong financial management at all levels. Empowering independent financial advisors with modern technology will ultimately ensure the accessibility of high-quality financial advice to each and every client.
What was the funding process like?
Other than the challenges presented by the pandemic, our fundraising process was fortunately straightforward. Our investors all saw the promise of Vise and believed in our vision and in the team, and we are so honored to have Sequoia partners Ravi Gupta and Shaun Maguire on our board.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Fundraising presents an additional demand to juggle in conjunction with focusing on the growth of the business. And certainly, having to rapidly adapt our operations and support our growing team throughout the pandemic further compounded the challenge.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our investors were thrilled to triple down on their partnership to help us redefine one of the world’s largest markets. They believe in our vision to revolutionize the wealth management industry by enabling financial advisors with sophisticated technology as well as our team’s ability to solve for the modern advisor’s needs.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Vise will continue to build out and enhance its product and functionalities and to expand its team of world-class talent.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Become an expert at prioritization and make sure you’re hyper-focused on the things that will actually move the needle. When growing a business, there will be a million things calling for your attention; learn to distinguish what needs to be addressed immediately and what can wait or be discarded entirely.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Continuing to enhance the product and grow the team are top priorities going into 2021.
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