July 29, 2013

Startup Takes On Consumer Financial Education

Online-only planning firm offers planning advice, guidance

LearnVest, an online financial planning startup, announced Friday that it had acquired $16.5 million in new funding. It attained the funding from initial investor Accel Partners, as well as new investors American Express Ventures; Claritas Capital; Ed Mathias, the founding member of The Carlyle Group; and Todd Ruppert, former CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services. The company has raised $40 million since launching three years ago.

The firm, based in New York and founded by Alexa von Tobel, provides basic money management advice to consumers through its website and an iPhone app launched in September. A team of certified financial planners provide portfolio analysis and guidance on how to implement recommendations with other providers.

“We are passionate about making financial planning—dare I say it—an exciting consumer product,” von Tobel said in a statement. “We’re eager to use this latest investment to focus on scaling LearnVest Planning’s award-winning technology and to provide widespread access to our team of certified financial planners.”

LearnVest offers three pricing tiers, each with a monthly subscription of $19. The least expensive option offers one-on-one help setting a budget. The next option helps consumers create a five-year plan, and the top level provides actual guidance on investing.

With the additional funding, the firm has opened a new office in Phoenix to serve as a training and hiring center for the firm’s financial planners. It will also invest in consumer-facing tools for its platform.

Additionally, LearnVest is partnering with Workplace Solutions to offer financial wellness programs as an employee benefit.

“We fully believe in the power of our Action Program to make America financially healthy. We all have questions about our money and need someone to help guide us in the right direction, with actionable unbiased advice,” says von Tobel. “That’s what LearnVest Planning is providing for people nationwide.”

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