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Motif Investing Gets $40M From Chinese Internet Leader Renren

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The Chinese social networking platform Renren has invested $40 million in online broker Motif Investing with the goal to assist Motif in its international expansion, the companies announced on Tuesday.

“We believe Motif Investing is the kind of company that can transform markets,” said Renren’s founder Joe Chen in a statement. “Its disruptive technology has broad application to retail and institutional investing in the U.S. and international markets.”

Motif Investing allows investors to trade “motifs” (aka, intelligently weighted basket of stocks and bonds built around themes, investing styles or multi-asset models) in single transactions for low fees.

In addition to Renren’s investment, Chen will also join Motif’s board of directors. Hardeep Walia, co-founder of the Silicon Valley-based Motif Investing, believes he will be a valuable asset for Motif.

“Joe is one of the most respected pioneers in China’s thriving Internet market,” said Walia, in a statement. “I am thrilled to have him on our board and look forward to working with him as we consider the complexities of being a global company.”

Also joining the board of directors with Chen is Carl Stern, former vice chairman of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs and former chairman and CEO at Boston Consulting Group.

“Motif Investing is experiencing success because it provides a differentiated model to advisors and retail investors that make smart investing simple at minimal cost,” said Stern in a statement. “I look forward to working with Hardeep to help Motif continue to grow both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Current Motif board members include former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, Kelly Coffey of J.P. Morgan, John Connors of Ignition Partners, Charles Moldow of Foundation Capital, Sergio Monsalve of Norwest Venture Partners, Darren Cohen of Goldman Sachs, and Benjamin Rose of Wicklow Capital.

Motif Investing is a registered broker-dealer. In May, Motif Investing received $35 million in funding that helped the company to launch a series of motifs and a flat-fee offering for advisors to compete with their automated competition.

Motif raised the $35 million in funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wicklow Capital and Balderton Capital. Previous investors Goldman Sachs, Foundation Capital, Ignition Partners and Norwest Venture Partners also participated in the round.

Renren, much like Facebook, lets users connect and communicate with each other, share information and user-generated content, play online games, watch videos and use a wide range of other features and services. had approximately 219 million activated users as of September 30, 2014.

Renren’s has also made other recent investments that featured finance-related ventures. In the past year, Renren invested $31 million in real estate Fundrise, an online real estate crowd-funding platform that allows you to invest in commercial real estate projects for as little as $100. Renren also invested $40 million in Snowball Finance Ltd., or “XueQiu,” a social network and information portal that allows investors in China to examine data across the U.S., Hong Kong, and Chinese stock markets, along with several bonds, funds, trusts and bitcoin.

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