Vanilla Raises $11.6 Million With Venrock, Announces High-Profile Partners, Welcomes Former Vanguard Group Chairman McNabb to Board
LOS ANGELES, August 30, 2021-- Vanilla has raised $11.6 million in a Series A funding round led by renowned venture capital firm Venrock as it helps to revolutionize estate planning for households of all wealth levels and their financial advisors.
Vanilla, founded by high-profile financial advisor and wealth management entrepreneur Steve Lockshin, is the first comprehensive, fully digital estate planning solution that proactively monitors client estate planning, visualizes existing planning, and facilitates document creation.
Over its 52-year history, Venrock has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs develop products that change the way we live. It’s been an early investor in groundbreaking companies like Apple, Intel, Cloudflare, Personal Capital, and Dataminr.
F. William McNabb III, the former CEO and Chairman of Vanguard group is among the participants in the capital raise and has joined Vanilla’s Board of Directors. Also joining the board is Venrock’s Nick Beim, a two-decade-veteran investor who has helped startups like Dataminr scale to become hugely successful players in their markets.
“Estate planning is the last undigitized frontier of wealth advisory,” said Beim. “Vanilla’s breakthrough service integrates the financial and legal sides of estate planning and automates complex estate planning logic. It creates a valuable new revenue stream for advisors and greatly increases their retention and prospecting capabilities.”
Added McNabb: “I’m incredibly excited to be part of the Vanilla team going forward—both as an investor and a board member. Vanilla’s innovative approach to estate planning will allow advisors to greatly enhance the depth, breadth, and quality of financial planning for their clients. On a personal level, getting to work with great entrepreneurs and Venrock is a huge plus.”
Orion and Addepar Launch Partnerships with Vanilla
Addepar, the best-in-class wealth management platform specializing in data aggregation, analytics, and reporting for the modern advisor, and Orion Advisor Solutions, the premier provider of the tech-enabled fiduciary process has also partnered with Vanilla to integrate and provide the Vanilla suite of solutions to users of their software. Advisors will soon be able to initialize their Vanilla experience within each partner’s reporting platform software.
They join top wealth-management-firm partners including Mariner Wealth Advisors, Carson Group, and AdvicePeriod as well as 435 other RIAs, each of which has deployed Vanilla across their organizations. “We not only use Vanilla's estate planning capabilities today but are also planning to integrate the software into our firm’s overall client service solution. The technology will help ensure a uniformly high level of service with a modern experience," says Marty Bicknell, CEO, and president of Mariner Wealth Advisors.
Participants in the Series A round include Jason Wenk, Founder and CEO of Altruist, the custodial and technology firm, Michael Jordan, the NBA legend, businessman, and Principal Owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise, and his business partner, Curtis Polk. Vanilla’s Board also includes Robert Thornton, President of First Republic Investment Management and President of First Republic Private Wealth Management.
Vanilla is Lockshin’s passion project, representing three decades of work with ultra-wealthy clients. "Estate planning is the most over-promised and under-delivered service that exists in our industry,” Lockshin said. “Yet every client needs an estate plan, and most advisors lack the tools to help their clients proactively and effectively. This is especially true with the estate-tax exemption limit poised to fall dramatically: A high-quality estate-planning offering will help differentiate the best advisors from the rest.”
Vanilla was founded in 2019 and released its initial offering in November 2020. Originally focused on the generation of core estate planning documents, the product offering quickly expanded to include the ability to review existing estate planning documents and function as a platform to proactively manage estate planning. In 2021, the platform has grown to more directly address the needs of ultra-high-net-worth clients and leverage the team’s unique planning expertise in a scalable way. Vanilla will continue adding depth to the offering across the spectrum of client wealth, broadening organizations’ visibility into the “estate health” of their client base.
Originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family in 1969, Venrock partners with entrepreneurs to build some of the world's most disruptive, successful companies. With a primary focus on technology and healthcare, portfolio companies have included Apple, Intel, Gilead, Checkpoint, Doubleclick, Illumina, Millennium, Nest, Cloudflare, 10x and Dataminr. For more information, please visit Venrock's website at https://www.venrock.com/ and follow the firm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Venrock.
Founded in 2019, Vanilla is a comprehensive estate planning platform that leverages decades of industry-leading expertise to address the need in financial advisory for a modernized estate planning experience. Vanilla provides robust and easy-to-understand visualizations of complex estates, efficient document preparation, detailed diagrams of how assets transfer to future generations, and ongoing estate administration and monitoring. It allows advisors, organizations, and institutions to deliver a new tier of value to their clients. Learn more at https://www.justvanilla.com/
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