Acorns is an American financial technology and financial services company based in Irvine, California that specializes in micro-investing and robo-investing. As of 2019, Acorns had over 4.5 million users and over $1.2 billion in assets under management.
The company was launched in 2012 by father and son duo Walter Wemple Cruttenden III and Jeffrey James Cruttenden to promote incremental and passive investing. It launched in 2014 with an app for iOS and Android devices. The portfolio options a user can select from were designed in partnership with paid advisor Harry Markowitz, a Nobel laureate.
Since its inception, the platform has expanded to include checking account services and retirement IRA products. This was made possible following an acquisition of Portland, Oregon fintech retirement startup, Vault.
In 2018, behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi was appointed chair of a behavioral economics committee at Acorns, working on an initiative termed the Money Lab to conduct field experiments focused on consumer spending.
Since its founding, the company has raised approximately $100 million in venture capital funding. As of August 2019, notable investors in Acorns included Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Bono, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Durant. PayPal, BlackRock, and NBCUniversal also have a stake in the company.
Upon account creation, a user selects one of several pre-built portfolios to invest in and connects a debit or credit card to their account. Every purchase is rounded up to the next whole dollar, and the remainder is invested in the selected portfolios. On launch, Acorns charged a $1 fee for its service.
In 2017 Acorns was censured and paid a $175,000 fine for failing to maintain proper customer records.
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