St. Paul-based online warranty platform Upsie just finalized an $18.2 million Series A round that founder Clarence Bethea hopes will encourage other Black founders.
“Getting more dollars to Black and Brown founders is always top of mind in conversations—there’s still such a deficit,” Bethea said. “Today represents that it’s possible.”
“Clarence and his team have created an incredible and joyful experience for customers purchasing consumer warranties, which is no small feat given where the industry has been,” True Ventures partner Puneet Agarwal said in a statement. “We love the unique impact they are making and the passion the entire Upsie team has around putting consumers first.”
Participants in this funding round include some influential groups like Samsung Next as well as Backstage Capital, the venture fund led by Arlan Hamilton, a vocal advocate of investing in tech founders of color. Local investors include Matchstick Ventures, Bread & Butter Ventures and several Minnesota-based angel investors.
“Upsie’s latest round reaffirms that it’s possible to build a high-growth venture-backed startup here in the Twin Cities,” Bread & Butter managing partner Mary Grove said. Grove talked about venture funding on a recent episode of the By All Means podcast.
Bethea started Upsie in 2015 with a mission to make consumer product warranties affordable and simple to use. Consumers can purchase product warranties for electronics like smartphones, appliances and gaming consoles from the Upsie website or mobile app and easily access their information. One of the big complaints about retailer warranties, Bethea says, is confusing rules that make it difficult to file claims.
“People are busy; they don’t have time to sit on hold for hours and can’t afford to wait weeks for a repair,” said Bethea, who was featured on the TCB 100 list in 2020. “We streamlined the entire process so many devices can be repaired and back in the customers’ hands on the same day.”
Upsie plans to use the new funds to double its staff of 16, increase customer awareness and product offerings.
“The pandemic sped up the inevitable,” Bethea said of consumers shopping online. “We knew customers wanted more control over warranty purchases. This is a $22 billion opportunity.”
Listen now: Clarence Bethea shares his founder’s story on By All Means.