M1 Finance doubles assets to $2bn in six months
Reaching $2bn AUM in such a relatively short timeframe (the company was founded in 2015) appears to verify M1 Finance’s ‘super app’ approach, which allows self-directed investors to control multiple aspects of the investment experience on one platform.
On a mission to automate investment
FinTech Magazine had an exclusive interview with Brian Barnes, CEO and Founder of M1 Finance, wherein he outlined the origins of the company, its ongoing mission and speculated on the future of investment:
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to invest very early, at around age 10,” he explains. “By the time I got to college, I knew I loved investing, but I really hated the administrative work required whenever I put money in or took money out.
“So, I set out to build the money management app of my dreams, one that automated my investing according to my preferences. Five years later, M1 has over 229,000 customer accounts, more than 60 employees, and we’ve reached $2bn in customer assets.”
How does M1 provide users with a unique investing, borrowing and spending experience?
“Before M1, people were forced to use a mix of brokers, money apps, and banks to manage all aspects of their finances. Not only is that time consuming, but it can also lead to worse financial outcomes overall.
“M1 is working to become a single ‘finance super app’ that manages all financial needs, including building long-term wealth, meeting financial needs, and managing spending.”
Part of any tech-first, digital-native company's strategy should be cybersecurity. What tech do you have in place to ensure customer peace of mind?
“As a newer player in the financial services sector, M1 recognizes how crucial it is that our customers are confident in our abilities to be responsible stewards of their data.
“M1 encrypts all data, both in-transit and at rest, utilising military-grade 4096-bit encryption, which provides customers with two-factor authentication, and adopts a variety of different industry security best practices around monitoring, alerting, and automated remediation playbooks.”
How do you envision the future of investing?
“We want to be the super app for money, the one app that any investor needs for all of their investing, saving, spending and borrowing.
“Our next new innovation is related to that, and, while I can’t go into too much detail yet, it will be focused on making it even easier for people to put their money to work the right way. We will let our customers set up rules for how each invested dollar should be used, helping build up savings, pay down debt, and get fully invested.
“The idea is to automate good financial habits. No other fintech, legacy bank, or broker has come close to this, so we are incredibly excited,” Barnes concludes.
Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round
Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.
The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.
Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”
“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”
Who is Amber Group?
Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year.
Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”
Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.