The old Ringo Starr lyrics “It don’t come easy” come to mind when talking about the remarkable story unfolding at Raleigh startup FilterEasy. Not that this company’s founders and employees have easy jobs – but they are making the raising of capital certainly look easy.
Three-year-old FilterEasy isn’t an intellectual property play as far as investors are concerned. No new invention. No artificial intelligence algorithm. No killer, IP-protected app. Nope. It’s a red-hot customer play, and with a big funding boost the company launched while its founders were students at NCSU is planning to “continue our rapid growth.”
Thad Tarkington, the CEO, and Kevin Barry, the COO, have produced a hit as confirmed Tuesday with the announcement of another $6.9 million in venture capital. The company has pulled in some $11 million already, including from Silicon Valley. From Florida to the Valley with Triangle investors, too.
So what’s going on? Who are these guys? What’s the secret? The secret sauce?
In a Q&A with Tarkington, WRAL TechWire found some intriguing answers – especially to question No. 3.
- Congrats on the funding. How do you plan to invest the new funds?
We will be using the investment to continue our rapid growth. This not only includes expanding our customer base but also improving service for existing customers.
To accommodate this growth, we will be adding more distribution centers, warehouses, and team members, to name just a few.
- You’ve now raised more than $11 million in just three years – why seek additional capital? Do your expansion plans require more money than can be sustained by current revenues?
As mentioned earlier, the additional capital will fuel aggressive growth efforts and be used to procure logistical, operational, and strategic items that said growth demands.
- Congrats on drawing funding from the east coast to the west coast now, as well as the Triangle. Why do you believe you have been able to generate interest from firms from across the country? RTP firms have generally faced a great many challenges in raising money in the Valley and outside the immediate region.
We have grown fast.
The response from consumers reinforces the value of our service. We offer a tangible convenience service that just makes sense for everyone with an HVAC system.
Investors notice our growth but also the stability of the growth rate and the market potential.
- What factors are driving your company’s growth? What has kept you competitive since no doubt there are other larger companies and filter manufacturers who could or are exploring the same kind of service. What makes you unique?
We are a consumer company selling a convenience service and product that ANYONE with an HVAC system needs.
There are so many benefits to changing your filter on time, and our service makes sure that our customers change their filters on time.
We make changing filters on a regular schedule EASY, which, in turn, offers cleaner, healthier indoor air, reduces heating and cooling costs, benefits the environment by reducing energy consumption, and extends the life of HVAC systems. We carry almost every size filter out there.
Filters are an out-of-sight-out-of-mind and often when they are remembered, it’s because there’s already a problem. When our box arrives at the door, it serves as a physical reminder to change the air filter. We send the exact filters that our customers need, exactly when they need them. There is no need to store the filters or remember to change them… so one more thing is checked off of the to-do list.
Our business model is centered around making the entire filter process EASY and convenient… while other companies prioritize other items.
Additionally, our filters are manufactured in the US.
- Investors generally look for experienced entrepreneurs and for companies that have IP to protect. Yet you and your partner are striking gold with investors. Why do you think you are?
We offer a convenience service at a price everyone can afford for anyone with heating and cooling system. The response to our service has been rapid growth with loyal customers.
At the end of the day, investors can see that we are adding value and building a great business.