RALEIGH – FilterEasy, an automated air filter delivery company, is removing the hassle from homeowners when it comes to air filters and corresponding maintenance.
The Raleigh-based company was founded in 2014 by two college friends after firsthand experience with the inconvenience of home air filters.
Kevin Barry thought changing the air filter in his home would be an easy task but quickly realized its complexity.
From this experience, FilterEasy was created and has become one of the fastest growing startups in the Research Triangle Area.
A forced crash course
Chief Executive Officer Thad Tarkington and Barry, who is Chief Operating Officer, founded the company while attending North Carolina State University.
“We saw a large opportunity and jumped on it, but did not have experience in the industry. I had done some direct sales and sales management with Cutco [knives] in college,” stated Tarkington.
FilterEasy currently employs more than 60 people, with an expected 120 employees by 2018 in the company’s four locations.
The company has a second fulfillment center in Oklahoma to reach a broader audience.
Tarkington and Barry have created a family-feel work environment for their energized and driven team, complete with company-wide outdoor trips and holiday parties.
“Since Kevin and I had little to no experience in most areas of business, starting FilterEasy was really just a forced crash course in different areas and working through things. We were fortunate to have great mentors, investors and advisers who allowed us to move quickly and create a great infrastructure early on to scale our business,” Tarkington explained.
After seeing the quick success of the business model and the pace FilterEasy was growing, Tarkington and Barry shifted their focus from school to the business.
Getting down to business
FilterEasy offers air filters ranging in 55 sizes and three quality levels, serving most residential needs. Custom options are also available on its website for an additional $3 charge.
All filters are made in the United States, built with moisture-resistant cardboard and pleated media, which increases the surface area to ensure maximum filtration.
Homeowners sign up for the service, select a filter size and tell FilterEasy their delivery schedule. Shipping is always free and no membership fees are associated with the service.
There are no cancellation fees related with the delivery service allowing customers to pause, modify or cancel the plan to fit the customer’s needs.
The delivered air filters serve as an embedded reminder to customers to change the filters on time, ensuring the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is operating at its highest efficiency.
These regularly scheduled deliveries save roughly 5 to 15 percent in heating and cooling cots each month, or a total of $12 to $25 each billing cycle.
The prices for these air filters range from $11.97 to $19.97 and customers are only charged once their filters have been shipped.
FilterEasy markets to its target audience mainly through social media advertisements and web-based searches.
The web-based e-commerce platform is easy to use for all consumers, hence the company’s well-crafted name.
Partnerships provide needed growth
FilterEasy acquired over 10,000 subscribers by January 2015 and earned more than $1 million in revenue as it primarily targeted homeowners.
The home-delivery provider gained further exposure in energy markets by aligning with leading retail energy providers, energy cooperatives and national energy initiatives.
The energy industry has been quick to adapt the value FilterEasy provides given its potential energy savings on a national level.
FilterEasy has partnered with AAF Flanders, the nation’s largest residential air filter manufacturer, to ensure its customers are receiving items for the same price as they would pay at a hardware store.
New York-based Kiwi Energy announced its partnership with the subscription service in June 2017. The FilterEasy service will be available as an added option for both new and existing customers of Kiwi Energy.
“Our partnership with FilterEasy will offer customers another solution in creating a sustainable future. It also helps them save energy while reducing their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, which is something that is at the core of our business,” said Richard Booth, president of retail operations of Kiwi Energy, in a prepared statement.
Due to these corporate sponsorships, FilterEasy is rapidly growing and has raised a total of $11.4 million in private equity offerings.
“We started by putting in a little money ourselves, and shortly after got accepted into a business accelerator that invested. Following this accelerator and some successes, we were able to raise capital from an angel group and venture capitalists,” stated Tarkington.
FilterEasy is also expanding into new territories, starting with Canada.
Canadian-based Just Energy, which provides natural gas and electricity to Canada and parts of the United States and United Kingdom, has partnered with FilterEasy.
Customers of Just Energy will also include an option found on energy bills to opt-in to the air filter delivery system.
Breaking into the international energy marketplace has provided FilterEasy with the confidence it needs to boost short-term revenue goals.
Differences set them apart
FilterEasy prides itself on five specific core values, separating it from similar companies in the energy sector. (A video overview about the firm can be watched online.)
The company strives to make life better by creating smarter, healthier and more efficient ways to complete everyday tasks.
They implement unyielding honesty in the workplace and endeavor to leave behind a company footprint that has grown, changed and improved the world.
FilterEasy is resourceful as it finds creative solutions despite the concept of finite time and resources in today’s society.
Lastly, the company refuses to give up; rather, the company as a whole must learn from its failures and generate new ideas in order to create success.
Barry and Tarkington faced a large hurdle with the startup – effectively educating individuals on the importance of home air quality and the efficiency of a standard HVAC system.
The company strives to not only provide superior convenience in the industry but rather to aid individuals in improving their indoor air quality as it a crucial concept to overall health.
However, these co-founders were not the first individuals to think of this concept.
FilterEasy faces much competition in the marketplace but has set itself apart from the rest in their core values and sustainability efforts.
All hassle is removed with the web-based platform, adhering to the convenience of each distinctive service.
The group has acquired Maryland-based On Time Air Filters and Mississippi-based FilterFiller to expand its market base.
Forward-looking, FilterEasy plans to utilize economies of scale as a buffer against competition. While it remains directly marketing to residential homeowners, partnerships with large energy corporations and groups are the key to future growth.
The two college friends are proving success by focusing solely on the problem that led them to create the business initially – simplifying purchasing home air filters, rather than purposeless noise that may affect the company’s progress.
Note: This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.