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SecondNature raises $16.4M for ‘healthy home’ subscription products like air and water filters

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SecondNature raises $16.4M for “healthy home” subscription products, like air and water filters

After a complicated journey to the shop to buy an air filter again in 2012, two N.C. State University college students, Thad Tarkington and Kevin Barry, got here up with the concept to make this routine dwelling upkeep buy a subscription-based enterprise. The following yr, their startup FilterEasy had a couple of hundred subscribers. Fast ahead to now, and that service — now referred to as SecondNature — has grown its buyer base to a whole bunch of hundreds by increasing past its unique direct-to-consumer mannequin to additionally embrace trade partnerships.

Today, the N.C. Triangle-area firm is saying it’s closed on $16.four million in Series C funding from new and current buyers, together with strategic investor MANN+HUMMEL by way of its company enterprise group.

Other buyers within the spherical embrace IDEA Fund Partners, Multiplier Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Arsenal Growth, One Better Ventures, Bonaventure Capital, NC State’s investor community WIN and UNC’s investor community CAN.

SecondNature started its life fixing a standard house owner drawback: serving to individuals to recollect to alter the house’s air filter. Often, it is a forgotten job as there’s no built-in reminder or alerting system to sign when the filter’s time is up, in contrast to another family merchandise. Your smoke alarms blare when batteries are low. Lightbulbs go darkish when it’s time for a change. But air filters simply sit there, quietly amassing extra mud as your air high quality worsens and your power invoice climbs.

Tarkington says the concept to place air filters on subscription not solely made sense as a method to remind owners to make the swap, however the mannequin labored for retailers as nicely.

“It’s a product that’s probably not well-suited for retail as a result of they’re massive, they take plenty of house they usually’re simply broken,” he says. “And usually, you may have hundreds of various sizes, so a retailer can solely serve a sure proportion of the market.”

The founders quickly left school and started to work full-time on the corporate. They later participated in The Iron Yard accelerator and raised $1.2 million in seed funding in 2015.

While the startup’s buyer base of householders steadily grew, SecondNature discovered that it wanted extra channels than simply direct-to-consumer (D2C) alone to extend gross sales. In the years that adopted, the corporate started working with trade companions, together with HVAC corporations, actual property brokers, utility corporations and business properties. These classes have contributed to buyer development, however D2C stays the biggest up to now given its head begin.

MANN+HUMMEL’s latest funding indicators the place SecondNature is headed subsequent. The firm now not considers itself simply a better method to get your air filters. Instead, it’s now positioning itself as a “dwelling wellness” model that may ultimately embody a variety of merchandise that owners want to exchange on a recurring foundation.

For starters, this contains SecondNature’s latest product line: water filters.

“As we began rising, we discovered that folks actually appreciated the comfort of [our business],” says Tarkington. Plus, individuals have been beginning to discuss different issues, like how filters helped with allergic reactions and created a more healthy dwelling atmosphere, he notes.

“We noticed this large pattern in the direction of private care — like what we put in or on our our bodies,” Tarkington explains. “We spend plenty of time in our properties, so our indoor air high quality and what we’re ingesting, from a water high quality perspective, has turn into essential.”

It made sense, then, to broaden the idea of a “wholesome dwelling” to additionally embrace water filtration.

In Q2 2020, SecondNature will launch its first two merchandise on this water filtration house, which can embrace filters in your fridge water. One shall be centered on enhancing the style, high quality and readability of the water, whereas the opposite shall be extra about filtering out dangerous particles from native water programs.

Going ahead, the corporate plans to embrace something that improves your property’s well being, Tarkington says.

In the extra fast future, nevertheless, SecondNature might profit from elevated curiosity in dwelling well being merchandise within the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, SecondNature’s MERV 13-rated “catch all” filter can scale back the chances of you catching the flu or a viral an infection when somebody in your house is sick. That’s as a result of it’s in a position to catch about 87% of droplet nuclei that go by way of. (To be clear, this isn’t a COVID-19 preventative; it’s about threat discount — like washing your arms or sneezing into your elbow, for instance.)

While some space’s of SecondNature’s enterprise has been considerably impacted by COVID-19 — like business properties the place lease might longer be coming in — Tarkington says enterprise is nice total.

“Generally, demand for the product has gone up because of the nature of it,” he says.

It’s value clarifying, although, that SecondNature isn’t aiming to market in the direction of shopper fears because of the outbreak. Instead, it’s attempting to assist. The crew has coordinated with hospitals to get them donated filtration media for masks, and it’s now actively utilizing its manufacturing facility and provide chain to get masks to hospitals in want. It has supplies to supply round 800,000 masks readily available and plans to supply as much as 2 million masks per 30 days so long as it has the supplies.

COVID-19 isn’t simply impacting its manufacturing line but additionally how the enterprise operates. The firm immediately has round 150 staff, two-thirds who work in achievement and distribution. To handle the specter of COVID-19, SecondNature reorganized its two warehouses (in Ardmore, OK and Wilson, NC) to maintain employees separated — together with by creating extra break rooms. It’s additionally working to make sure all processes keep clear and sanitary. A devoted crew is concentrated on cleansing the ability, together with wiping down doorways, handles and different surfaces.

SecondNature’s extra funding will go in the direction of increasing the companies and hiring to assist its plans for brand spanking new merchandise, together with forthcoming first-party merchandise it has now in R&D. As for what these could also be, particularly, Tarkington hints they’ll concentrate on merchandise the place the corporate can “innovate and make a product higher or a course of higher — perhaps extra environmentally-friendly.”

To date, SecondNature has raised $18.four million.

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