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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 known as SecondNature — has grown its buyer base to lots of of 1000’s by increasing past its unique direct-to-consumer mannequin to additionally embody trade partnerships.

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

Other buyers within the spherical embody 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 downside: serving to individuals to recollect to alter the house’s air filter. Often, it is a forgotten process as there’s no built-in reminder or alerting system to sign when the filter’s time is up, not like 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 gathering 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 solution to remind the 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 loads of area, they usually’re simply broken,” he says. “And typically, you have got 1000’s of various sizes, so a retailer can solely serve a sure proportion of the market.”

The founders quickly left school and commenced 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 industrial properties. These classes have contributed to buyer development, however D2C stays the most important up to now, given its head begin.

MANN+HUMMEL’s current funding alerts the place SecondNature is headed subsequent. The firm not considers itself simply a better solution to get your air filters. Instead, it’s now positioning itself as a “dwelling wellness” model that may ultimately embody a spread of merchandise that owners want to switch 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 allergy symptoms and created a more healthy dwelling atmosphere, he notes.

“We noticed this huge development in the direction of private care — like what we put in or on our our bodies,” Tarkington explains. “We spend loads of time in our properties — so our indoor air high quality and what we’re consuming, from a water high quality perspective, has turn out to be crucial.”

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

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

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

In the extra rapid future, nevertheless, SecondNature could 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 capable of catch about 87% of droplet nuclei that cross by way of. (To be clear, this isn’t a COVID-19 preventative, it’s about threat discount — like washing your fingers or sneezing into your elbow, for instance.)

While some space’s of SecondNature’s enterprise has been considerably impacted by COVID-19 — like industrial properties the place hire could longer be coming in, Tarkington says total, enterprise is sweet.

“Generally, demand for the product has gone up – as a result of nature of it,” he says.

It’s value clarifying, although, that SecondNature isn’t aiming to market in the direction of client fears as a result of outbreak. Instead, it’s attempting to assist. The group has coordinated with hospitals to get them donated filtration media for masks, and is 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 thirty days so long as it has the supplies.

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

SecondNature’s further 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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