The London-based client reviews website for independent financial and legal professionals, announced earlier this month that it closed a $5.4m Series A investment round.The investment, the company said, will be used to help millions more customers get proper financial and legal advice from accountants when they need to make crucial decisions such as writing a will and buying a house. The company’s founder, Adam Price, pointed out that consumers are understandably cautious when deciding who to trust with their life’s big financial and legal decisions – 79 per cent of believe it’s difficult to find a well-recommended financial adviser, according to research by YouGov. Founded in 2012, VouchedFor has enjoyed year-on-year revenue growth of 350 per cent and now has a membership base of over 7,500 IFAs and legal professionals – as well as a database of over 35,000 vetted client reviews to match consumers with the ideal financial advisor. According to Price, the company brings a new level of transparency to the financial industry. It describes itself as the TripAdvisor for financial and legal professionals. Prior to this latest investment round, VouchedFor received a $1.5m seed investment in 2014 in a round led by DN Capital with participation from Octopus Investments and Samos Investments. All of the investors understood that helping customers to get better advice and giving them an easy way of getting hold of information and gaining better transparency was a compelling proposition. Simon Rogerson, CEO and co-founder of Octopus Investments, said: “In the face of changing legislation, sound financial and legal advice is more important than ever. That’s why we’re so excited to be backing VouchedFor, which shares our passion for excellent customer service.” Price had the idea for the company when he was working in wealth management. “While I was working for Barclays numerous friends and family members would ask me for financial advice,” he said. “I wasn’t an adviser and despite working in the finance sector I didn’t know any advisers that could do what they wanted. It made me realise that good advice was hard to find and applying the consumer ratings model to the problem was a logical way to fill the void.” The decision to do his own thing was also made easier by the arrival of his first son, which caused him to re-evaluate what he wanted from his career. “The first investment came from my own savings, which amounted to the cost of a family car,” said Price. “It enabled us to launch a pilot version of the website in 2011, but I then had to go back to work for a few months while we built the full version, which we launched in June 2012.” Read on to find out what difficulties Price faced in the early startup stages.
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