Serial fintech founder raises $20M for Ant Money to make micro-investing even more accessible – TechCrunch

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Walter Krattenden, a serial fintech entrepreneur, founded Acorns with his son Jeff in 2012 to help low- and middle-income households invest responsibly and save. did. The pair wanted to simplify their investment for millions of people who are having a hard time starting or continuing their investment.

Then, in 2018, Walter went live with a new company – blast.. In that venture, he sought to re-challenge traditional banking by bringing personalized financial tools to gamers. In other words, Blast wanted to give users a way to save money while playing video games. (Cruttenden seems to have obtained several patents from Acorns to establish this company).

Near the end of Kruttenden’s latest fintech, 2021, Ant Money raised $ 20 million in funding (a previously unannounced combination of seed and Series A capital) through a merger between shares. Announced the acquisition of Blast.

Cruttenden was founded Ants money, A micro-income startup in collaboration with Mike Gleason in March 2020. Gleason, which previously founded and sold Consumer Brands, previously worked with Walter to launch a data monetization company called Ant Transaction Machines. He is the CEO of Ant Money.

“In the process of establishing another company called AntTransactionMachines and working with Blast, we create a common platform that can move faster in terms of a larger mission to help people open their first investment account. If so, we noticed. “

Its popular platform is (obviously) AntMoney. Gleason describes the startup as “a comprehensive and larger vision that includes three apps and one platform.” The current apps promoting investment accounts were launched around this time last year: ATM and Learn & Earn.

With the merger, ATM, Blast, Learn & Earn will be under the umbrella of AntMoney. The company claims that the move is not an integration. Each app will continue to exist and function independently. blast We will continue to focus on the game. ATM The focus is on enabling users to earn micro income. Learn and earn The focus is on improving financial literacy. And all three focus on helping users open financial investment accounts.

Especially ATM An app designed for users to earn micro income to save money or invest in the stock market through the company SEC license “advisor” or Embedded financial tools. Ant Money claims that users can earn $ 100 to $ 1,000 or more annually with ATM apps based on their level of engagement.

ATM apps started from the angle of “monetizing data,” but Gleason says it doesn’t actually sell or share data, so Ant has softened it a bit.

“we Basically, we are creating a way for investors to participate in the rewards program. So instead of opening an investment account and saying “Hey, there are some rewards here”, we actually go out and say the rewards or revenue from advertising here and then move on. Invest it in, “Gleason said.

Prior to the merger, the Ant Money apps (ATM and Learn & Earn) had more than 500,000 users acquired in the last 12 months. Of those 500,000 users, 100,000 have investment accounts.

“We can now invest in more and more of our 500,000 users,” Gleason said. “Our goal is to close next year with 1 million investment accounts and over 3 million users.”

Ant Money is a “very large” company (more than 100 million customers) that offers cashbacks or rewards or rebates for making SDKs (Software Development Toolkits) available for integration into investment platforms. (Companies with) are cooperating with.

“When we think of AntMoney, we think of ourselves as an” investment affirmation, “Gleason told TechCrunch. “Affirm buys now, pays later and makes sure it’s embedded everywhere. Ant Money is a way to open an investment account by going out and embedding what you’ve already created and built. I think this is a big differentiator from our competitors. “

When I first learned about Ant Money, my first thought was, “Is it an Acorns competitor? Or is it like Robin Hood?”

According to Gleason, it’s actually placed “somewhere between the acorn and Robin Hood.”

Acorns round up change and it goes into ETF buckets to diversify. There is no individual selection of shares. Robin Hood gave the choice.

“And Walter really created Robo bumper, This is a hybrid model where funds flow into ETFs and investors can allocate up to 50% of their individual stock picks from a pre-curated list, “Gleason said. (half According to the company, five of its portfolios consist of five “world’s largest and lowest cost ETFs,” and the other half allow for customization of up to 10 individual stocks. )

Image credit: Walter Cruttenden / Ant Money

Coinbase can also be seen as a competition, as it leverages the concept of “Learn & Earn” within the platform to support investor education. And there’s Public.com, which provides education and other information to investors.

“I think we’re in the middle of all this, but I think it has a big advantage in terms of the ability to open an investment account. Much lower customer acquisition costs and scale than our competitors, “Gleason said. Unlike Acorns, AntMoney does not target a specific income group. Users can be as young as 13 years old, but so far startups have received a lot of attention from young investors in the 18-22 / 23 year old range.

Ant Money currently has 55 employees and will continue to use some of its new capital to increase staff and acquire new customers.

Interestingly, the company’s revenue model is a combination of ad: tech and fintech.

Ant Money earns money from advertisers indirectly and through monthly subscription fees for educational components. And finally, some large corporations and nonprofits sponsor content and classes. For example, Gemini offers sponsored courses on cryptography.

“We want to make all this easy, simple, and straightforward for investors,” says Gleason.

James Cross, Managing Director of Franklin Templeton’s Franklin Venture Partners, said incorporating investment capabilities into apps that already pay users rewards and other incentives is “a great way to help young investors get started. , AntMoney is an innovative way to make large investments. ” A customer base with relatively low customer acquisition costs. His company led the round with the participation of Steelpoint Capital Partners, Walter Cruttenden, RX3 Ventures and SteelBridge Laboratories.

Gleason didn’t say how much Newport Beach, California-based Ant Money paid Blast, but noted that some of the Series A capital was issued to Blast holders.

Walter Cruttenden has founded several fintechs as well as He founded Roth Capital Partners and is a former head of investment banking at eTrade. He is currently chairman of Acorn an Ant Money.

Cruttenden declined the interview due to a quiet period as Acorns will be released. Increases the financial security of millions of people. “

Serial fintech founder raises $20M for Ant Money to make micro-investing even more accessible – TechCrunch Source link Serial fintech founder raises $20M for Ant Money to make micro-investing even more accessible – TechCrunch

The post Serial fintech founder raises $20M for Ant Money to make micro-investing even more accessible – TechCrunch appeared first on California News Times.

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