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Wealthfront Acquires Financial Planning Startup Grove

Wealthtech firm Wealthfront made its first acquisition today. The California-based company has purchased Grove for an undisclosed amount. Grove is a four year old virtual financial planning and advice company with $4 million in assets under management and is headquartered in California.

Not included in Wealthfront’s purchase are the clients behind Grove’s accounts, which number close to 500. Grove has entered into a strategic agreement with Facet Wealth to offer financial planning to these clients, who will be able to transition to Facet Wealth starting tomorrow. With Facet, clients will receive three check-ins per year, a dedicated financial planner, investment recommendations, and a strategy session for $780 per year plus a set-up fee of $560. Additionally, Facet anticipates that some of Grove’s CFPs and planning employees will transition over to its team.

Wealthfront is making the purchase to bolster its Self-Driving Money vision. Under the new initiative, Wealthfront takes control of the user’s finances by allocating their paycheck once it is deposited into their account. The tool will ensure all bills are paid, deposit the appropriate amount into each savings account, and contribute to the best investments to help the user attain their goals.

Grove Cofounder and CEO Chris Hutchins said, “We’ve always appreciated the role technology and automation can play in scaling quality financial advice. We are dedicated to the vision of Self-Driving Money as we believe it will have a huge impact on how people manage their finances.”

This is Wealthfront’s first reveal of its Self-Driving Money plans. The launch depicts a departure from the high-touch model competitors such as Betterment and Personal Capital have added to their offerings. It shows that, in an era of customer service revolution in fintech, Wealthfront is sticking with its robo roots. If Wealthfront serves as a place where consumers deposit their paycheck, they can gain a better foothold to compete with traditional banks.

Wealthfront debuted as KaChing at FinovateSpring 2009. The company pivoted as Wealthfront in 2015. Last year, Wealthfront unveiled a host of new offerings, including a freemium model, homeownership planning tool, and an integration with TurboTax that leverages user’s data to offer a more personalized experience.