Total Expert, the fast-growing marketing and customer-engagement software firm that serves financial-services providers, has raised $52 million in its third round of equity funding.

The amount is the largest raise for a Minnesota company this year and one of the largest in recent history.

Georgian Partners led the venture-capital (VC) round with participation from Emergence and Minnetonka-based Rally Ventures, the most active VC firm in Minnesota in recent years.

Total Expert has raised $86 million in venture capital, including $20 million last October.

"We are incredibly excited about Total Expert's approach to building trust and maximizing the long-term value of relationships between consumers and lenders," said Simon Chong, managing partner of Toronto-based Georgian Partners. "The future of consumer finance is engaging across all product and customer needs during their financial life. And Total Expert is the category leader powering this humanized automation and compliance at scale."

Total Expert said it plans to use the money to expand its team of 218 employees with additional data scientists, designers and others, in addition to accelerating the development of its APIs, machine learning and AI capabilities.

"The future of financial services belongs to firms that combine human interaction with technology in a way that creates higher quality and more relevant experiences throughout the entire customer journey," said Total Expert CEO Joe Welu, in a statement. "Every interaction a consumer has with a financial-services brand either erodes trust or builds trust. Legacy technology makes it difficult to deliver on the expectations of the consumer. Our mission is to ensure that banks and lenders create customers for life by delivering on these expectations."

Total Expert said it has increased its customer base by 8.5 times to more than 100, since 2017.

Total Expert launched in 2012 to address tech-marketing needs in the mortgage industry, a complex and highly regulated sector of consumer finance. The company said last year that it serves about 10% of the mortgage industry, including eight of America's top 15 lenders, such as U.S. Bank, and Guaranteed Rate.

Welu, 42, a veteran of the housing industry, led a residential real estate team for 12 years before starting Total Expert.

The firm is ranked No. 105 on the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing private companies.

Inc. credited Total Revenue with 2018 revenue of $11.1 million.

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144