Our Investment in Upside

Change is in the air for the next generation of investors.  Millennials are shunning traditional investment firms due to high fees and “hard sales” tactics of advisors.  This has lead to the rise of the so called “robo-advisors” with recent growth explosions from companies such as Wealthfront and Betterment.  This has investment advisors worried as they hope to not lose out on the next generation of investors.

Upside flips this scenario on its head.  This service gives investment advisers a white label solution that’s very similar to what other “robo-advisors” offer.  This allows advisors to not only avoid losing clients to “robo-advisors” but, more importantly, opens up a whole new class of potential clients who would like to invest smaller amounts that traditionally are below minimum investment advisor thresholds.  

This win-win scenario is why we are excited to announce that we’ve participated in a $1.1 M seed round for Upside led by Cultivation Capital.  Upside was founded by Tim Kimberly (CEO) who has background in retail financial services and M&A, and Juney Ham (President) who is the former director of online marketing for Airbnb.  The team was a recent graduate of the Fin-Tech Accelerator, SixThirty, and quickly established itself on the national investment scene with its focused market niche.

Upside’s value proposition to advisors and their clients is clear.  High-value investment services available via a technology-first platform provided with low fees. Upside’s investment strategy focuses on low-fee index funds and ETFs.  A clients investment risk profile is determined by a short survey and then funds are allocated and, overtime, rebalanced automatically.  Advisors have the ability to change these profiles, however, and can add the value-add advice of a experienced investor.  White-labeled portals are setup for all advisors and they can be as hands-on with their clients as they would like to be.

Tom & Juney started the company in San Francisco and but decided to setup shop in St. Louis after completing the SixThirty accelerator.  Since then they have been working on their pipeline and have made tremendous in roads with various investment houses across the country.  All this with relatively little funding to date.  The team was discovered by Ryan via the SixThirty accelerator program and after a couple of convesations and product demo, it was clear the team was positioned to take advantage of this massive market opportunity.  We are also excited to be making our first St. Louis investment and our first co-investment with Cultivation Capital.

Welcome Tom and Juney to the Confluence Crew!

Posted on August 24, 2014 in Companies, Midwest

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