LearnVest was founded on the belief that financial planning should be affordable, accessible and even delightful. Alexa Von Tobel and her team sought to tackle this fundamental problem when they started the company in 2009 – in short, making financial planning understandable and accessible to everyone. Alexa aimed to address day-to-day financial complexities – like managing school loans, credit card debt, savings, monthly budgets and more – with superior online tools and content that could reach a broad audience of people who needed guidance.
Accel led LearnVest’s $4.5 million Series A investment in 2010. The company quickly expanded as a platform that connected customers with human financial advisers, amassing 1.5 million users and tens of thousands of paid subscribers. By focusing on millennials, LearnVest tapped into a valuable and underserved group of consumers. Older, traditional industry incumbents took note, including 158-year old Northwestern Mutual, which acquired LearnVest in 2015 for $250 million. The acquisition marked an important moment in the finance industry as a legacy company embraced an innovative fintech startup in an effort to access the millennial market, while gaining access to new technology. Together with LearnVest, Northwestern Mutual deployed this technology across its portfolio of clients and financial representatives.