Betterment, the largest independent roboadvisor on the market, is now valued at $800 million after raising another $70 million in funding. Since the beginning, that's meant focusing on delivering the best possible after-tax returns and empowering customers to do what's best with their money," Betterment CEO Jon Stein said in a statement. Since Betterment last announced funding in 2016, the firm has grown from managing $4 billion to managing $10 billion in assets. At that time, Betterment was valued $100 million lower at $700 million.
Evolving consumer expectations, the rapid adoption of technology and new competitors entering the markets are placing new demands on today's wealth management firms. These trends are re-shaping the look and feel of the industry, and the change is happening across all aspects of the value chain, from client acquisition to advice to ongoing portfolio monitoring and decision-making.
Welcome to the world of robo-advising. The first generation to grow up with the internet, consumers born after 1980 are used to relying on technology and engineering to do almost everything--including shopping (Amazon), listening to music (Spotify), communicating with friends (social media), and hailing a cab (Uber). It seems as if millennials would prefer to avoid face-to-face business interactions when there exists a more efficient way of getting what they want accomplished. A new breed of financial technology companies, known collectively as fintech, has taken advantage of these traits to disrupt an unexpected industry: personal investing. Just as manufacturing companies have replaced assembly line workers with robots, these companies have replaced financial advisors with robo-advisors, which use big data and algorithms to determine the best places to put clients' money--and appeal to a whole new generation of investors.