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Few startups have been as laser-focused on making sense of your finances as New York City-based LearnVest Planning. In addition to the usual online tools for tracking your expenses and planning your savings, LearnVest’s certified financial planners also provide one-on-one help — something previously reserved for the wealthy.
Today, the company is launching yet another major upgrade to its platform, the LearnVest Planning Action Program, a seven-step process that gets new customers up and running on the site faster than ever.
LearnVest Planning has also raised an additional $16.5 million in a strategic round of funding, which will be used to spur development of the new Action Program, as well as scale the service’s overall operations. Existing investor Accel Partners participated in the round and was joined by new investors American Express Ventures, Claritas Capital, and others. The company has now raised more than $40 million in total.
Alexa Von Tobel, LearnVest’s founder and chief executive, tells me the company wasn’t seeking additional funding — but as with any fast-growing startup, it was clear that the fresh investment would be a major help. LearnVest now has 80 full-time employees and around 20 consultants, and it recently opened a new office in Phoenix, Arizona.
“We know that what we’re doing is working with clients — now we’re just perfecting with precision,” Von Tobel said in an interview. “Everything is focused on streamlining and really delighting with the customer experience.”
It makes sense for LearnVest to pay particular attention to how new users come aboard its service. Financial planning can be a headache, and it’s easy to simply give up when confronted with a slew of tasks. The LearnVest Planning Action Program breaks down the process by focusing on seven key tasks — including getting yourself organized, protecting yourself by saving, and maximizing the potential of your portfolio.
LearnVest’s pricing is a combination of a down payment — $89 for the starter membership, with higher level plans at $299 and $399 — and a $19 monthly fee. The company is also bringing its service to businesses with “Workplace Solutions,” a way for employees to take advantage of LearnVest’s tools and experts.
LearnVest’s team of Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) remains one of the biggest ways the company differentiates itself from competitors. Sites like Mint give you the tools to figure out your finances, but having help from an actual financial professional is another matter entirely. You’re always dealing with the same CFP, and unlike other financial advisors, they don’t push you towards any services that you may not need.
“It’s technology with a human core,” Von Tobel said.