Estimated valuation: Unknown

Product: Investment Management

IPO Timeline: TBD

Date Founded: Feb. 19, 2015

StashInvest is a registered investment advisor (RIA) founded by Edward Robinson and Brandon Krieg with the goal of helping small investors to begin investing in a simple and straightforward manner. Its stated mission is to break the mold of traditional investment companies and brokers and make investing accessible to everyone. Investors can sign up on the company's app and then answer a list of questions about their risk tolerance and investment objectives. They will then be presented with a short list of investment options that fit their needs. Investors can then link their bank account to their investment account and begin making periodic investments in amounts as small as $5. Investors also have the guidance of a virtual financial advisor who will provide advice, support and recommendations.

Creating Good Habits

StashInvest differs from traditional automated investment companies such as WealthFront and Betterment by empowering its investors to think about their views and share their ideas with friends; its website is designed to help investors create good lifetime financial habits. Stash charges a $1 fee per month for any account with a balance under $5,000 and 0.25% of assets under management (AUM) for accounts that exceed this amount. It encourages investors to use a dollar-cost averaging program to lower the overall cost of the shares that they buy and also to diversify portfolios across several different industries. The company builds portfolios from a select array of stocks and curated ETFs designed to fit various types of investment objectives, and it allows small investors to purchase fractional shares. The company's app also differs from its competition in that it tries to find out what the investor believes in on a personal level and builds a portfolio that fits those beliefs. For example, an environmentally-conscious investor would be paired with Stash's "Clean and Green" fund, which is the name that it has assigned to the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF.

Co-founder Ed Robinson explained the reason that he started the company in an interview with Benzinga.com: "Brandon [Krieg, Stash Invest CEO] and I wondered why more people didn't invest, so we went to talk to real people on 54th street one day. Nearly everyone we spoke to wanted to invest, but they just didn't. Their reasons for putting it off all boiled down to three things: they didn't know how to start, they thought they needed a lot of money, or they were intimidated."

The company commissioned a Harris poll that revealed that just over a third of Millennials believed that they needed at least $1,000 to start investing. When they were done pounding the pavement, the founders saw a vast market for small investors that was virtually untapped. Krieg echoed Robinson's view in a press release: "My co­founder Ed and I left our Wall Street jobs because we believe everyone should have access to financial opportunity. After a combined 30-plus years in the business, we know that [investing] can be fundamentally unfair to smaller investors and makes it hard for the individual investor to accomplish their goals. We want to create real change, the kind that transforms the financial literacy gap and narrows the vast division of wealth that plagues our country."

Stash now has more than 150,000 accounts and more than 500,000 subscribers to its service. The company plans to expand internationally in the near future and has received four rounds of funding from four investors totaling $38.75 million. The most recent round of funding was a series B for $25 million on December 14, 2016. StashInvest is listed as one of the companies to watch in 2017 by www.builtinnyc.com.

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