FinTech profile: Acorns - disrupting investment
Fintech startup, Acorns is disrupting the sector with its innovative microinvestment and roboinvestment mobile app and debit card services.
“Anyone can grow wealth”. It’s quite an opening gambit, and it succinctly sums up the mission of Acorns, a US-based fintech company that specialises in microinvesting and roboinvesting.
Through those services, and the wider philosophy that Acorns embodies, the 2014-launched business has become quite the disruptor in the fintech sector. The company was founded by Walter and Jeff Cruttenden with the aim of making investing accessible to everyone. It’s mission, its states, is “to look after the financial best interests of the up-and-coming, beginning with the empowering step of microinvesting”.
The secret to Acorns’ success – and by success we mean being now valued at close to $900mn in just over four years of business – lies in its microinvesting service offering. This, very simply, opens up the world of investment to anyone, creating a world where spare change or any extra money can be turned into investments that grow over time.
Acorns users can invest in two ways:
- Acorns Core – the “only micro-investing account” that lets users invest spare change. This, says Acorns, can be set up in five minutes and automatically adds money to an investment portfolio (Acorns has several from conservative through to aggressive).
- Acorns Later – which is all about saving for retirement. Acorns will recommend a suitable IRA and update it on a regular basis to meet specific targets or goals.
- Acorns spend – a checking account with a debit card (see below) that saves, invests and earns.
Ease of use is a key theme that runs throughout the Acorns service offering. Like many disruptive, small innovators, it’s all about a product that works and works simply to offer a host of services. Acorns customers keep track of their investments through the use of an app – iPhone and Android friendly, naturally – as well as a debit card.
The latter, saves and invests as customers spend through their normal spending patterns. It offers no ATM fees, no overdraft fees and no minimum balance requirements. More on the features can be found at this Acorns video.
In numbers – Acorns:
Founded and launched: 2014
Headquarters: Irvine, California, US
Founders: Jeffrey and Walter Cruttenden
Valued at: $860mn (as of Jan 2019)
Sectors: Microinvesting, roboinvesting, fintech
Did you know? Actor, Ashton Kutcher is an investor in Acorns.