Betterment Celebrates the Season of Giving with New Share Donation Feature

Robo advisory platform Betterment made an announcement today that it is not only making it easier to give to charities, it is also giving consumers more reasons to do so.

Starting November 28, on Giving Tuesday, Betterment investors will be able to donate shares of long-term investments from their taxable accounts directly to charitable organizations. While the act of giving may grant users a warm heart, Betterment has made a point to emphasize the self-serving part of the equation– tax benefits. Investors who donate can eliminate capital gains tax on the contributed shares and can also deduct the value of the gift on their tax return. To make the process as easy as giving cash, the company does four main things:

  • Tracks how much of your account is eligible to give to charity (i.e., it sorts for stocks that you’ve held for more than one year)
  • Estimates the tax benefits before you complete your gift
  • Moves assets of up to $1 million from your account to a charitable organization’s account without any paperwork
  • Emails a tax receipt after the donation is complete

At launch, investors can give to eleven charities, including UNICEF USA, Wounded Warriors Family Support, Hour Children, Against Malaria Foundation,, GiveWell, Save The Children, Feeding America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, World Wildlife Fund, and Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Betterment is soliciting user requests for new charities to be added.

Founded in 2008, Betterment CEO Jon Stein debuted the company’s Multiple Goals feature at FinovateFall 2011. This summer, the New York-based company received a $70 million investment from Sweden’s Kinnevik, bringing Betterment’s total capital to $275 million and boosting it up to a valuation of $800 million.

Finovate Alumni News


  • TransferTo and Fern Software Receive Grant from UN Capital Development Fund
  • EyeLock Partners with ViaTouch to Bring Iris Authentication to Smart Shelf Vending
  • Betterment Celebrates the Season of Giving with New Share Donation Feature

Around the web

  • PPRO, Klarna team up for credit payment methods across Europe.
  • Mastercard plans its own blockchain.
  • GeoAwesomeness profiles San Francisco startup, MapD.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Symbiont Wins Distributed Ledger Technology Award for a Second Year in a Row.

Around the web

  • FinTech Insider News interviews Revolut founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky.
  • Diebold Nixdorf SVP of Software Alan Kerr talks omnichannel ecommerce with
  • Betterment’s Nick Holeman discusses spotting bull markets on CNBC.
  • CardFlight to power mobile POS offering from Beyond.
  • Quotatis Pro highlights Xero in its list of top apps to help you run your business.
  • Neustar joins Visa ID Intelligence as a digital identity partner.
  • PayNearMe teams up with New York City Department of Finance to enable parking ticket fines at more than 100 area 7-Elevens.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

New Investment Boosts Betterment Valuation to $800 Million

It’s a Funding Friday here at Finovate! In addition to news of a strategic investment in Klarna, and new funding for credit scoring startup, and DoubleNet Pay’s latest investment, we learn today that robo advisor Betterment is now that much closer to achieving unicorn status – courtesy of a $70 million investment from Sweden’s Kinnevik. The investment takes Betterment’s total capital to $275 million, and gives the robo advisor a valuation estimated at $800 million.

Praising the “strong partnership” between his firm and Kinnevik, Betterment CEO Jon Stein said that the investment will enable the company to “continue to build products that put even more money back in our customers’ pockets. The Kinnevik-led round, an extension of Betterment’s Series E from last year, featured participation from existing Betterment investors, Bessemer Venture Partners, Francisco Partners, and Menlo Ventures.

Senior Investment Director for Kinnevik, Chris Bischoff explained the nature of the extended Series E, saying that his firm’s approach was to “(invest) over multiple rounds into high-performing technology-enabled companies.” He added, “after a year of investment, we saw additional opportunities for growth and proposed the financing to Betterment. We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship.”

Betterment CTO Dustin Lucien during his presentation with Quovo co-founder and CTO Michael Del Monte (not pictured) at FinDEVr New York 2016.

The news from Betterment arrives on the heels of the company’s launch of its Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Portfolio. SRI enables investors to grow their capital while avoiding investments in companies whose products, services, and overall corporate behavior are considered to have a “negative social impact.” Instead, as VP of Financial Advice and Planning Alex Benke explained at the Betterment blog, “companies deemed to have strong social responsibility practices, such as Microsoft, Google, Proctor & Gamble, Merck, CocaCola, Intel, Cisco, Disney, and IBM may make up a larger portion of the SRI portfolio.”

A year ago, Betterment celebrated more than $5 billion under management. Today, the robo advisor boasts of nearly $10 billion AUM. In addition to its fully-automated, algorithm-managed investment portfolio, Betterment unveiled a new hybrid robo advisory service in June that includes either annual or unlimited check-ins with Betterment’s team of certified financial planners. Stein told Bloomberg Markets the company would use the new capital to grow the hybrid service, in particular.

Founded in 2008 and based in New York City, New York, Betterment demonstrated the Multiple Goals feature of its platform at FinovateFall 2011. More recently, the robo advisor joined Quovo at FinDEVr New York 2016, where Betterment CTO Dustin Lucien and Quovo co-founder and CTO Michael Del Monte presented “The Power of Aggregation Demonstrated by Quovo and Betterment.” The firm was named to CB Insights Fintech 250 list last month – along with 43 of its fellow Finovate/FinDEVr alums. We featured the robo advisor in our look at Passive Investing in our Savings Tech Horizon series this spring.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services.
  • New Investment Boosts Betterment Valuation to $800 Million.
  • Klarna Announces Strategic Investment from Permira.

Around the web

  • PayPal extends partnership with JP Morgan Chase, providing greater payment options for consumers.
  • Taulia joins European E-invoicing Service Providers Association.
  • Persistent Systems agrees to acquires Swiss firm Parx Werk in deal valued at $16 million.
  • ID Analytics partners with Acxiom to strengthen risk assessment and combat fraud.
  • Dwolla adds Multi-User Feature to the Access API Dashboard.
  • Neener Analytics joins Plug&Play fintech accelerator.
  • Tavant selected by Fairway Independent Mortgage To Transform Its Digital Lending Experience.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News


  • EquityZen Secures $3 Million in Round Led by Draper Associates.
  • Karmic Labs Lands $17.2 Million to Grow Enterprise Payment Solutions.
  • Innovation Acceleration: Incubators and Incubation Labs Drive Development in Fintech.

Around the web

  • MoneYou integrates Mitek’s identity solutions for real-time digital onboarding.
  • Xignite launches the Xignite Channel Partner Program to offer partners integrated cloud-based market data solutions.
  • Betterment launches new Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Portfolio.
  • Forbes profiles Unison in look at the challenges facing homebuying millennials.
  • CrowdFlower adds former Amazon AI product specialist Robert Munro as VP of Machine Learning.
  • NuCypher introduces its decentralized key management system, NuCypher KMS.
  • AltFi talks about the role of “platformification” in supporting innovation in fintech with Avoka CEO Phil Copeland.
  • IDG Connect interviews Xpenditure CEO Boris Bogaert on current trends in banking including blockchain R&D.
  • IBM opens new data centers in London, U.K.; Sydney, Australia; and San Jose, California.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

44 Alums Populate CB Insights’ Fintech 250 List

This week, CB Insights unveiled its Fintech 250 list. The research outfit selected 250 emerging, private companies in 17 sub-sectors of fintech that are changing the face of financial services. The roster includes 44 Finovate and FinDEVr alums that were selected using CB Insights’ data-driven process that analyzes company momentum, market participation, funds raised, and investor quality.

The list is in alphabetical order.









Credit Karma





Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll)










Personal Capital





Ripple Labs
















A Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Passive Investing


This is the final post in our blog series about the savings technology horizon. Last week we discussed how savings technology works in goals-based PFM platforms and standalone, automated savings platforms. So far this week, we’ve looked at solutions targeted to Generation Zcrowdfunded savings technology, and advice-only solutions. Today, we’ll consider the final category– passive investing.

Savings tech isn’t sexy, and because it is often built into a larger, more robust product, sometimes it is difficult to notice. With the diversity of savers in this world, it only makes sense to have a wide variety of tools to help them save. Not all savings tools are built the same, and that’s a good thing. Missed the other five savings categories? Check them out:

Today’s category borders on wealth tech (okay, it is wealth tech). It is also, however, one of the major methods people use to set aside money for their future. I felt this series would be incomplete without considering a few examples of how passive investing helps people save.

Passive investing

A wide spectrum of companies, many of which will sound familiar, fall into this group. I’ve picked out three– Acorns, Betterment, and Prosper— to illustrate a variety of examples.

  • Acorns
    Most likely, you’re already familiar with Acorns. This millennial-focused app offers an easy way to help poor young, tech-savvy investors make the jump into the stock market. Founded in 2012, Acorns launched an app that connects with a user’s debit account, helping them invest the “spare change” from their daily transactions. To keep things simple for novice investors, the company charges a straightforward fee of $1 per month.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 3.21.41 PM

Acorns’ Found Money feature leverages brand partnerships

Tying in saving and investing with spending, Acorns recently launched a FoundMoney feature (pictured above). With Found Money, Acorns’ merchant partners deposit bonus cash into the user’s Acorns account. When consumers spend money with select companies, the brand to invest back. Acorns currently boasts 10 millennial-friendly brand partnerships, including Airbnb and Dollar Shave Club.

  • Betterment
    Another savings/investment tool that will sound familiar is Betterment; the New York-based company made its first Finovate appearance at FinovateFall 2010. One of the first automated investment platforms in the U.S., Betterment was founded in 2008 to create an algorithmically-managed investment account with lower fees than a financial advisor.

    The company recently introduced a set of hybrid robo advice offerings with a personal touch; for a higher annual fee, users can opt for a robo advisory service blended with a certified financial planner (CFP). The service options range from a yearly call with Betterment’s team of CFP professionals to a one-on-one relationship with a financial advisor.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 11.39.08 AM

Betterment uses an algorithmic approach to investing
  • Prosper
    This P2P pioneer also may sound familiar. Prosper launched in 2006 and has since become one of the largest P2P marketplaces in the U.S. The company offers investors an Auto Invest feature that lets users set investment rules based on the risk and type of loans in which they want to invest. When the user has liquid cash in their account Prosper will automatically re-invest those funds into loans that match the user’s criteria. Prosper debuted at the first ever Finovate in 2007.
Prosper’s Auto Invest feature helps users take a “set it and forget it” approach to saving

Next week, our analyst David Penn will pick up the series as he talks to industry experts and looks that the future of savings technology.

FinDEVr APIntelligence


FinDEVr New York is just over one month away. Visit our registration page today and save your spot as our developer’s conference returns to New York City, March 21 & 22, for two days of APIs, SDKs, case studies, coding examples, and more.


  • Braintree Hires John MacIlwaine as New CTO.

The latest from FinDEVr New York presenters. Catch them at FinDEVr New York next month!

  • ChartIQ to provide Fidessa with HTML5 charting options.

  • Clutch recognizes Softjourn as one of the top web and software developers in the Ukraine.

  • Fiserv wins inaugural Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Fintech ADVANCE Award for its Verifast palm authentication technology.

  • Vantiv to provide debit, credit, and ATM processing services for Financial Technology Solutions International.

  • Massachusetts-based bank, Salem Five ($4.2 billion in assets) picks Fiserv as its new technology partner.

  • Vantiv partners with CardFlight to Offer EMV Mobile POS Solution.

Alumni updates

  • Intuit deploys VersaPay ARC for its SME customers and accountant clients.

  • Wave to offer OnDeck business loans and lines of credit courtesy of new partnership.

  • IBM leverages Hyperledger Fabric to support a trade finance-oriented blockchain project in Dubai.

  • Entersekt CIO Gerhard Oosthuizen shares advice on passwords and protecting personal data in Moneyweb.

  • ACI Worldwide teams up with Chargebacks911 to help merchants handle fraudulent chargebacks.

  • MoneyGram using Mobile Verify from Mitek to meet AML requirements.

  • Envestnet | Yodlee partners with mobile-only banking startup, Varo Money.

  • Xero partners with Sasfin Bank to offer next generation financial management to small businesses.

  • Betterment unveils new multi-plan offering with access to human advisors.

  • Fidor partners with EPAM Systems to gain access to additional product development and software engineering talent.

  • Avoka names former KPMG executive Matt Lewis as new CFO.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Finovate Alumni News


Around the web

  • Betterment unveils new multi-plan offering with access to human advisors.
  • Green Dot to acquire UniRush and its prepaid card business, RushCard, for $167 million.
  • Fidor partners with EPAM Systems to gain access to additional product development and software engineering talent.
  • D3 reports record revenue in 2016, up 160% from 2015.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.