David Roberson grew up watching his mother struggle with financial management, he shared, noting his family’s stresses could have been alleviated with the help of a financial advisor.
Combining his passions for digital marketing, web development, SEO, design and financial literacy, Roberson founded the marketing firm Azella — named for his mother.
“Azella is a platform with brand marketing automation tools that help financial advisors quickly build their brand, quickly develop their website and quickly market their business,” Roberson explained. “Our aim is to help advisors who are leaving large companies to start their own independent practices, so that they can easily connect with clients in need.”
Click here to learn more about the marketing strategy at Azella.
Founded in July 2020, Azella works to solve numerous pain points experienced by financial advisors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberson said.
“Advisors were no longer able to go into the office and didn’t know how to best communicate with their clients,” Roberson recalled. “We were able to organize their email marketing, set up their Zoom meetings and automate that entire process for them — which was very valuable for advisors during that time period.”
Roberson’s knowledge of financial services matured in 2013 as he earned experience at The Mutual Fund Store (later merged with Financial Engines, then Edelman Financial) as the digital marketing manager, he shared.
“It was one of the best things to happen in my career path,” Roberson said. “I never wanted to be in the financial space; but as I started learning about what advisors actually did for individuals, it totally changed my whole psychology about the industry.
“I was their first brand/marketing/SEO hire, and we really built a strong marketing channel,” he continued — noting that he stayed with the company during the mergers, which taught him how to manage advisors on a large scale and how to rebrand all digital marketing.
Breaking off and launching his own marketing firm has been a learning experience, Roberson shared, but also one filled with immense growth. Azella’s diverse team of five is now hiring for more digital marketing, social media and content positions, he noted.
The team is building off the momentum from earlier this year, when Azella announced receiving funding from the Fountain Innovation Fund, Roberson said. The $90,000 investment — and a $90,000 match from other investors, including Vercie Lark — will go toward developing Azella tech products.
“For the rest of the year, our two big initiatives are: our hires on the digital side, and then releasing some of our products by the end of this year,” he added. “… We also plan to launch a larger funding round in the future.”
Click here to read about how Azella was one of the eight startups selected for Pure Pitch Rally 2021.
Azella’s team is currently working diligently to “clean up the internet,” Roberson said, as they continued to help financial advisors create a fresh and aesthetic online presence.
“Most advisor websites aren’t visually appealing, and they don’t communicate the message of that advisor,” he explained. “We are creating a very strong brand for them; it has been a fun and exciting process.”
Roberson’s ultimate goal with Azella is to help more than 10,000 advisors successfully run their independent practices in order to impact as many people in need as possible, he said.
“My vision and mission for the business is to help families and individuals with financial literacy, and I’m doing that through empowering advisors,” Roberson shared. “We’re creating a tool that streamlines an entire industry, and I’m looking forward to seeing that impact.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.