As the definition of work and career evolves due to the digital age, so does the complexity of financial services needed by accomplished individuals. Harness Wealth, launched by the former CFO of Compass, uses a blend of proprietary technology that connects its users with a curated list of top tax, financial, and legal advisors to solve any need a client may have. The platform serves as a centralized resource that provides a holistic approach to the financial well being, targeted to those who have between $250k-$10M in investable assets. In order to ensure they are providing the right recommendations for the right person, the company has designed a series of rigorous assessments to ensure that that they are able to recommend the best advisors for any given situation.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO and founder David Snider to learn more about the newly launched platform, its future plans, and the company’s recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Harness Wealth raised a $4M Seed round. It was funded by a number leading venture capitalists and entrepreneur angels including Bain Capital Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Torch Capital, firstminute Capital, L2 Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Marc Benioff (Chairman and Co-CEO, Salesforce), Edith Cooper (board member at Slack and Etsy, former Global Head of Human Capital, Goldman Sachs), Ori Allon (Founder and Executive Chairman, Compass), Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan (Founders, Handy), Josh Wolfe (Managing Partner, Lux Capital), and Marco DeMeireles (Head of Private Investments at BAM).
Tell us about the product or service that Harness Wealth offers.
Harness Wealth helps accomplished individuals identify financial opportunities to build the life and legacy they strive for. It enables clients to build a personalized balance sheet and connect with a highly curated set of top tax, financial, and legal advisors to manage their financial well-being.
What inspired you to start Harness Wealth?
I started Harness Wealth because I saw that the convergence of a number of trends has resulted in a significant increase in financial complexity for successful professionals, many of which we experienced personally.
Compared to previous generations, individuals are working for more companies throughout their careers, there has been an increase in equity as a key source of compensation, there is a proliferation of alternative investment opportunities, and the tax code has gotten increasingly complicated. I wanted to help clients find the right financial, legal, and/or tax adviser to help them navigate these complexities and find financial opportunity.
Compared to previous generations, individuals are working for more companies throughout their careers, there has been an increase in equity as a key source of compensation, there is proliferation of alternative investment opportunities, and the tax code has gotten increasingly complicated. I wanted to help clients find the right financial, legal, and/or tax adviser to help them navigate these complexities and find financial opportunity.
How is Harness Wealth different?
Our technology matches clients to the right advisers and we have a comprehensive adviser vetting process. Harness Wealth has developed proprietary technology that creates a personalized pairing based on a comprehensive needs assessment across life and financial events, goals, and concerns. We’ve also developed an extensive diligence process for the advisers who work with us.
The vetting process is different for each area of expertise (tax, legal and financial). Each process includes gathering 40+ attributes for each individual advisor (i.e. client focus, education, certifications, industry involvement, years of experience/leadership, communication methods) and 100+ attributes for each firm (i.e. geography, size, international capabilities, management, sophistication of service offerings, fees types and rates, specifics around advisory approach, specifics around compliance and infrastructure).
What market does Harness Wealth target and how big is it?
Harness is targeting accomplished individuals in the large addressable market of 20M households in the United States with $250K- $10M of investable assets and who spend $80B annually on financial, tax and legal professional services.
Why would individuals that have a significant amount of investable assets want to use a technology platform versus a relationship-driven model?
Harness Wealth combines both of those things with a hybrid model of human relationships and smart technology. Our target market is digitally savvy, but they also have a complex enough financial picture that they desire a human/digital hybrid model, which we provide.
What’s your business model?
We take a minority percentage of the adviser’s standard fee for clients that we refer.
What was the funding process like?
We were fortunate that given the size of the market opportunity, my track record at Compass and the business model, there was a lot of investor interest in the business. Ultimately, the combination of those 3 factors led to our current investors, along with others that we were not able to include in the round, to be excited about the company.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was explaining why a model that embraces the existing best advisers was the winning strategy and explaining why this moment in time was the right one for a hybrid digital – human expert solution, especially for our target demographic.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
I am excited to start delivering great solutions that help interested clients on our waitlist reach their best financial future.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
My advice would be to focus on how you can add distinct value to your potential clients. If you are successful at that, one or both of more funding and revenue/ profits will come.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We have a tremendous amount of work to do in order to deliver the immense value add we believe we can to clients throughout the country. We are currently working on more client tools to help identify opportunities and technology to enhance the digital experience of working with advisers.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?