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The retirement crisis is coming: Jemstep can help you save for the future

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Ah life as a senior citizen — the leisurely days of lounging in the sun with books, eating Almond Joys, and playing cards with your friends over glasses of sherry.

Unless you haven’t saved for retirement, that is, and economic reports show that this is the case for an alarming number of Americans. 

Jemstep has raised $4.5 million to help people build their retirement nest egg. The company powers an online portfolio manager that looks at your existing investment portfolio and uses data analytics to recommend how to best invest your 401K savings.

“Everyday investors deserve to understand how and why certain investments are better than others for reaching their financial goals,” the company says on its site. “Traditionally, such guidance has been available only to wealthy or privileged investors, often at a high cost in advisory fees. We believe the individual investor is best served by an investment strategy and investment guidance expressly based on his or her unique investor profile.”

There are more than 20,000 mutual funds and ETFs out there, and building a diverse portfolio is tricky and time-consuming. This is why people hire advisors, brokers, and wealth managers. However these advisors often take commission for sales, which can bias their advice.

Jemstep’s technology compares data about every mutual fund/ETF with data about every other mutual fund/ETF to provide up-to-date market data. It combines this information with investor profiles, including financial goals, current situation, and investment preferences to make personalized recommendations for each investor.

The company has identified over $1 billion additional money for retirement that people are leaving on the table, Jemstep’s president, Simon Roy, said in a statement that. Jemstep aims to give “institutional class advice” at a lower cost and to use data to help people save more money.

It currently works with 10,000 investors and tracks over $2 billion in assets. The company said it projects its users will have $467,000 more to spend in retirement.

The business works on a freemium model. Advice on asset allocation is free. Premium features are free for people with a portfolio of less than $25,000, and then Jemstep charges a sliding-scale monthly fee starting at $18, depending on the size of the portfolio.

Jemstep is one of many startups that aims to bring greater transparency to the financial services industry. Banks and brokers traditionally operate and make decisions behind closed doors, and they charge a lot to do it. Online services can make advanced data analytics on finance accessible to people who are not experts and give them tools to make their own decisions accordingly — all at a lower cost.

FutureAdvisor is a Y Combinator and Sequoia-backed startup that helps people build and regularly rebalance their entire investment portfolio. SigFig’s financial software gives greater insight into what investors are doing right, wrong, and how to fix it.

Jemstep differs in that it focuses explicitly on retirement portfolios. Considering that we are “on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in American History,” the need to help people save for their future is dire.

Caleo Capital led this round, which brings its total capital raised to $15 million. It will be used to expand distribution, enhance the service, and make hires.

Jemstep is based in Los Altos, Calif.