The founder of Upsie, a platform designed to make purchasing and storing product warranties easy and affordable, just closed a seed round of funding for $1.7 million—a remarkable feat especially for a tech entrepreneur of color.
Upsie is an app designed to take the headaches and guesswork out of product warranties. Users can buy product warranties via Upsie instead of through the product manufacturer. Upsie does away with the retail warranty’s markup price and can offer warranties for less. Plus, with Upsie, users can compare warranty prices and terms, have online storage for digital receipts, and can track when warranties are set to expire.
The founder, Clarence Bethea, says since the app’s official launch in June 2016, it’s attracted over 14,000 customers. He also says the company has 25% month-over-month revenue and that the team has grown from a staff of two to seven.
“We have great investors,” says Bethea. “And we just completed Techstars Retail; an accelerator for companies in the retail space.”
The investors involved in this round include Techstars Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Gopher Angels, M25, Village Capital Investments, and Syndicate Fund. Other investors are Marc Belton, Mark Addicks, and Jim D’Aquila
Bethea says, “Our round was oversubscribed.” He says the company’s investors see a growing company “with a great team in an industry that has traditionally been anti-consumer.”
“Upsie represents the type of opportunity we love to back at VilCap Investments—a solution to an often overlooked problem that affects people and their financial health every day, brought to market by a passionate and relentless founder. Investors frequently talk about ‘grit’ as one of the leading attributes they look for in founders,” says Victoria Fram of Village Capital Investments.
“Clarence has redefined the term in our experience. Upsie’s brand dispels the notion that warranties must be an inherently opaque and unfriendly customer experience and replaces it with an expectation of fairness, affordability, and transparency. Big brands and loyal customers are taking notice, and we’re proud to be continued partners in their growth,” says Fram.
“M25 is investing because Clarence found a large, relatively untouched opportunity in the broader insurance landscape and turned the user experience on its head,” says Victor Gutwein of M25. “As a consumer, the price doesn’t even warrant purchasing the policy, and the customer service is a nightmare. As an early-stage investor, you really can’t put a premium on an aggressive founder with a superior product in a huge space.”
“Techstars is thrilled to continue our support for Clarence and Upsie as part of their latest financing,” says Cody Simms, Techstars. “We first met Clarence last year during Techstars Retail in partnership with Target and were deeply impressed with Clarence’s drive and the massive opportunity in front of Upsie. We are happy to be an ongoing part of their journey as they help consumers save money and redefine consumer device protection.”
Less than 2% of minority-owned businesses receive venture capital or angel funding.