Headquarters: Irvine, California
Acorns is a financial services company focused on facilitating micro-investing by enabling the investment of aggregated sub-dollar amounts in fractional shares with high frequency and allowing people to save and invest their money. The Acorns app, which leverages a proprietary brokerage and advisory engine, rounds up credit, and debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, then automatically collects and invests that spare change into a portfolio of index funds offered by money managers Blackrock, Vanguard, and PIMCO.
Acorns is how everyday consumers save & invest for the long term. By putting tools of wealth-making in everyone's hands, Acorns has become the largest subscription service in U.S. consumer finance, serving 6.8 million everyday Americans.
Customers get automated investing in diversified portfolios built with help from experts. Acorns easy retirement account allows customers to invest in their future in minutes, no expertise required. To help everyone spend smarter, Acorns introduced banking that invests with every swipe, and cash-forward rewards. And, everyday Americans may invest in their kids and get money news they can use, all from the same app.
Acorns is an app designed specifically for novice investors looking to get their feet wet in the stock market. It offers access to its robo-advisor platform, tax-advantaged IRAs for retirement, plus a checking account. The Company’s main micro-investing feature allows potential investors to start small by investing the spare change from their everyday purchases. For example, when a customer purchases a coffee for $3.75, Acorns rounds up to the nearest dollar and invests the spare $0.25 cents into the market.
Acorns acts as a robo-advisor that invests spare change into a selection of approximately 25 low-cost, diversified ETFs (which include more than 7,000 stocks and bonds).
Users can fund their accounts with manual deposits, automatic recurring deposits and Acorns’ Round-Ups®, which are added from the rounded dollar purchases on customers’ linked credit and debit cards once they reach $5. The ETFs are selected by Acorns after customers complete a survey about their financial goals, investing timeline and risk tolerance. Factors like age, income and net worth are all taken into account when creating the portfolio.
Acorns offers two membership tiers: (1) The Personal plan for $3 per month includes a checking account, investment account and retirement account. (2) The Family plan for $5 per month includes the three accounts you get with the Personal plan, plus additional investment accounts for children.
Acorns also provides a checking account which has many of the features of a traditional bank account including direct deposit, mobile check deposit, a debit card and fee-free withdrawal from over 55,000 fee-free ATMs around the world.
Acorns offers custom financial literacy content on the go. The Company’s educational resources include a “Money Basics” blog and Grow + CNBC website.
Acorns benefited from the savings-and-investing boom seen during the pandemic as consumers turned to stashing cash and boosting their equities investing cadence.
According to TechCrunch, Acorns is building a high-value consumer SaaS business with modest churn, good customer lifetime value and additional revenue streams to supplement its software incomes. It also has a good growth outlook and high cash burn.
Acorns generates a monthly subscription fee based on the subscriber’s tier choice, representing high quality recurring revenue with an average lifetime of 6+ years, with nearly 99% monthly total subscriber retention. Acorns also generates transactional revenue from debit card interchange fees, brand partnerships, and bank fee negotiations. All of the Company’s products are designed to help its subscribers grow their money.
From 2019 to 2020, Acorns grew 61% from $44 million in revenue to $71 million. Its gross margin improved from 71% to 78% over the same time frame. Comments from CEO Kerner indicate that Acorns exceeded its $126 million revenue estimate for 2021 according to TechCrunch.
According to the company’s investor presentation from May 2021, Acorns is projected to generate $309 million in revenue in 2023.
As of May 2021, Acorns had $4.74 billion in assets under management, according to a recent regulatory filing.
In March 2021, Acorns acquired Harvest, a fintech that helped customers reduce more than $4 million in debt in 2020. In April 2021, Acorns also acquired Pillar, an AI-powered startup built to help consumers optimize their debt payments by focusing first on student loans.
In January 2022, Acorns ended a planned $2.2 billion merger with Pioneer Merger (PACX), the SPAC sponsored by hedge funds Falcon Edge Capital and Patriot Global Management, due to market conditions.
Two months after calling off its SPAC merger, Acorns raised $300 million in new Series F funding at a $1.8 billion post-money valuation according to Pitchbook.
Acorns still plans to list its shares but now expects to use a traditional IPO for its next attempt at the public markets. Regarding timing for the next public listing, CEO Kerner said, “It will be when the markets are in the best condition to go public and set the company up for the best possible future.”
In 2022, Acorns plans to roll out customized portfolios, the ability to add crypto exposure “to a diversified portfolio” and more family-specific offerings. Acorns will give customers exposure to Bitcoin, with the ability to invest 1% to 5% of their portfolio through an ETF, but there will not be crypto trading on the Acorns platform.
Acorns also plans to continue building products that allow parents and their kids “to save and invest and get educated together.” Since its 2012 inception, the Company has evolved its offering to also include investment services, debt management and a product aimed at children, Acorns Early.
In March 2022, Acorns was named to Forbes top 100 “America’s Best Startup Employers.”
In April 2023, Acorns acquired London-based GoHenry, a startup focused on providing money management and financial education services to 6- to18-year-olds in an all-equity deal. This gives Acorns an opening to grow internationally, starting with GoHenry’s existing footprint across the U.K., France, Italy and Spain.