Manning Field, Acorns

Nov 09, 2018, 02:00 PM

How Do You Build An Investing App That Has More Users Than E*Trade? Ask Acorns

Benzinga is rolling out the Fintech Focus podcast, a series of interviews with leaders in the fintech space.

Our fifth episode features Manning Field, Chief Operating Officer of fintech startup Acorns. Acorns is an investing app with a core service that lets users invest small amounts into a portfolio.

The app has since expanded to offer retirement saving and a suite of financial education products.

Key quotes:

“What we really do is look after the financial best interests of people who make under 100,000 dollars a year. The core idea that the company was founded upon was the fact that young people weren't saving and investing and didn't also have the confidence to save and invest because they were financially illiterate. What we've tried to do at Acorns, is to give access to that kind of population through technology, through design and through education and get them started, whereas, in the past they wouldn't necessarily start till much later in their life. Then in some cases, when you think about building long term wealth, those ended up being kind of fairly significant mistakes for people when they actually finally figure out they want to start investing. “

“We are a mission-led company, and that mission is really to look after the financial best interest of the up and coming, which is really kind of the handle we use to describe our target customer. And then we believe that it's starting with the empowering step, that first step of micro-investing. For us, this is the rallying cry for all of our teams. It's how we evaluate performance. It's how we recruit. And so, that's what brings everyone together. Often, in companies what brings people together is the stock price or valuation or some of these other things that are a little bit more rational, but don't really speak to mission purpose. And I think at any company, you always want to have a “why” and oftentimes that actually doesn't exist. And so, or you have to fabricate it. And I think the way in which the mission has kind of been embedded into our culture, like, we have a “why” and I think that's the way, that's how we will continue to benefit from that over the long-term because we're not going to veer from it. “

“Though we are a fintech company, we don't really have a strong bias towards fin or tech. We're much more of a brand company that uses fin and tech and so we think that that sets us apart and you'll continue to see us be set apart in that way.”