COVID-19 Startups Venture

Sequoia Capital-led $14.5M Series A Brings Vise Out Of Stealth

Portfolio management platform Vise came out of stealth mode Tuesday with $14.5 million in Series A funding and several clients with financial advisors, committed to using Vise, that represent more than $800 million in assets under management.

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Samir Vasavada and Runik Mehrotra founded the New York City-based startup in 2016 to automate aspects of investment management for financial advisers using artificial intelligence. Vise’s full-stack platform spans the entire lifecycle of the adviser-client relationship, including designing personalized portfolios for clients, managing portfolios and providing ongoing intelligence.

“We did some consulting work and noticed that some people were client relationship managers, but had no tools to gain success with wealth management,” Vasavada told Crunchbase News. “They wanted to be independent, which presented a big opportunity to service them with next-generation wealth management by using AI.”

Wealth management is an $85 trillion industry in the United States. It is important to be able to have a personalized way to build a portfolio in an automated manner so the agent can keep going with the relationship management, he said.

The new funding round was led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from previous investors Founders Fund, Bling Capital, Human Capital, Lachy Groom, Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube and Jon Xu, co-founder of FutureAdvisor. Vise has now raised about $17 million, including $3.5 million among two seed rounds in 2019, led by Bling, Founders Fund and Sequoia, according to Crunchbase data.

“Rarely have I met founders as talented as Samir and Runik, and never with tailwinds as compelling as with Vise,” said Shaun Maguire in a written statement. Maguire is a partner at Sequoia Capital and also chairman of Vise.

According to Maguire, “This is one of the biggest markets on Earth currently being revolutionized by the perfect storm of consumers pushing for more personalization, advisers seeking advanced technology so they can be even better at their jobs, and the industry moving toward zero-commission trades. This creates an opportunity to rethink decades of institutional wisdom and puts them in a prime position to be the central nervous system of the wealth management industry.”

Vise will use the funding to accelerate growth of adviser partnerships and product development.

Advisers typically manage around 70 clients who each have three to four portfolios, Mehrotra said. Vise has the potential to save those advisers several hours of work per portfolio using AI to create a personalized portfolio of individual securities.

Meanwhile, Vise boasts a team of Ph.D. researchers and industry veterans from Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg, Google and Palantir. And, it’s Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade Institutional platforms are already using the platform, the founders said.

Vasaveda said he expects more people will seek advice from financial advisers to realize their total financial picture and ask for guidance during this environment of uncertainty around COVID-19. In addition, advisers will reassess what they are doing and the tools needed to modernize how they manage their portfolios and the inflow of customers, he added.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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