Raleigh startup FilterEasy raises more than half of $3M goal

Raleigh startup FilterEasy, which has set its sights on raising $3 million in new funding to broaden its product lineup and boost its marketing efforts, is more than halfway there.

Co-founder and CEO Thad Tarkington said that the company closed on “a majority” of its funding goal last week but declined to be more specific. The funding was led by Durham venture capital firm Idea Fund Partners; Cofounders Capital of Cary also participated.

“We’ll be getting the remainder in the coming weeks,” said Tarkington, who noted that FilterEasy also recently converted $1.1 million in debt into equity.

FilterEasy, which has 20 full-time employees, anticipates roughly doubling its full-time staff by the end of next year to support efforts to continue growing the business.

“We have five ... positions available right now that we are looking to fill,” Tarkington said.

FilterEasy customers sign up online for automatic, regular shipments of air filters for heating and air-conditioning systems that are delivered to their doorstep. The filters’ arrival also serves as a signal that it’s time for new filters.

“Everything is about convenience,” said David Gardner, founder and general partner of Cofounders. “People know they should change their filters way more often, they just can’t remember to do it.”

Lister Delgado, general partner at Idea Fund, was impressed by the privately owned company’s sales growth and its plan to focus on selling air filters to businesses in addition to consumers.

“This is just getting started, but I see the traction there,” Delgado said. “The business market is four or five times bigger.”

Delgado also likes what he sees in Tarkington and co-founder Kevin Barry, FilterEasy’s chief operating officer.

“They’re young but they know their stuff and they are continuing to build a good team,” he said. Tarkington, 23, and Barry, 22, dropped out of N.C. State University in 2013 to focus full time on FilterEasy.

The company, which previously raised nearly $1.5 million from investors, started selling filters online in May 2013 following a successful beta launch.

Tarkington isn’t disclosing sales specifics but said revenue this year will be more than four times greater than last year.

To expand FilterEasy’s appeal, the company also plans to add harder-to-find filters and custom-sized filters.

“Now we can support these homes that previously couldn’t use our service,” Tarkington said.

FilterEasy also plans to expand into Canada.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii