39. Hearsay Social

SaaS social marketing tool for financial advisors

Hearsay Social co-founder Steve Garrity.
Source: Hearsay Social
Hearsay Social co-founder Steve Garrity.

Founders: Clara Shih, Steve Garrity
Date launched: 2010
Funding: $51 million
Industry disrupted: Online investment advisors

In a world growing crowded with so-called robo-advisors, Hearsay Social is helping actual human advisors stay relevant. Clara Shih and Steve Garrity, former classmates at Stanford, started the social media management company in 2010 as a way for financial advisors and insurance agents to stay better connected with their clients. Hearsay Social's technology enables financial professionals to collect data from the public social media feeds, such as Facebook and Twitter, of their clients. If a client has a baby, for instance, the financial advisor would likely want to talk about a new life insurance policy.

In February the company rolled out a new product—Hearsay Social's Predictive Social Suite—which goes a step further. In addition to monitoring data from social media feeds, Hearsay Social's clients will also be notified when visitors view their companies' websites and which products or information they were looking for. This, the company claims, will help advisors know more about what a client is interested in.

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Of course, having more information on a client is a good thing, but it doesn't address the fact that human advisors are still more expensive than most online services. Still, Shih believes individuals will pay up for relevant, personalized advice. So far, the company has signed on New York Life, Farmers, AXA and Raymond James as clients. It's also raised $51 million in venture financing from Sequoia Capital and NEA, among others.

"When the likes of long-established firms ... decide to partner with Hearsay Social to enable their advisors on social media and modernize how they engage clients and deepen relationships, it is tremendous validation of our disruptive impact." -Steve Garrity, Hearsay Social co-Founder and CTO

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