Deals

Upside takes $1.1M to arm investment advisors against 'robo-advisors'

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Real, human investment advisers have be quietly suffering in recent years as younger investors have flocked to web-based, automated investment advisers like Betterment and Wealthfront.

A new startup called Upside has built a white-label platform through which personal investment advisors can offer some automated investment services of their own. These include paperless account opening, portfolio selection, automated trading and portfolio rebalancing, client and advisor portals, and practice analytics. These features are delivered to clients through a user interface similar to the ones offered by the robo-advisor sites.

“We already have a number of advisors and investors using the platform, so we’re excited about continuing to improve our technology based on the feedback we’re getting,” said Upside CEO Tom Kimberly in a statement. “Many advisors know that the digital generation wants something different — and they know that the robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment are here to stay. Upside is their answer to that challenge.”

Kimberly tells VentureBeat that different types of investment clients will use the platform in different degrees. Some clients will do all their own account maintenance online, rarely talking to the advisor, while others will want the advisor to do all the maintenance on their behalf. Either way, he says, the Upside platform saves a lot of time for the investment adviser by automating many of the administrative tasks involved with managing portfolios.

Upside says it’s taken a new round of venture funding, $1.1 million, from Cultivation Capital, SixThirty (the accelerator where Upside found its legs), and a group of angel investors.

It’ll use the new money to grow its investment advice platform, and also to accelerate sales and marketing efforts. Upside’s platform is designed to attract and service young investment advisors with $100-300 million in total assets.

Upside also announced a partnership with Shareholders Service Group (SSG), a San Diego-based broker/dealer that provides brokerage services to over 1,200 independent investment advisors in the U.S.