Acorns App: A Way to Finally Invest Your Spare Change

Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder and COO of Acorns. IMAGE: ACORNS
Jeff Cruttenden, co-founder and COO of Acorns.

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One-Liner Pitch: Acorns aims to let users invest with just their spare change.

Why It’s Taking Off: The app, which is still in beta, automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the difference in an investment portfolio.

When Jeff Cruttenden was 11 years old, his father asked him to pick one stock to invest in. He took some time to look through a few stocks and then went with his gut.

“It was a cheese company,” Cruttenden, now 27, recalls. “It went completely bust.”

For some households, this might be seen as an unusual exercise in parenting, but Cruttenden was always steeped in the world of investing. His father, Walter, led E-Trade’s transition to online investing in the late 1990s with EOffering. Walter talked with his family about investing frequently, and some of those conversations apparently rubbed off on Jeff.

Jeff says he became an “evangelizer” for investing while in college, but found that even those who expressed some interest typically ran into one of a few obstacles: either they couldn’t afford the minimum balance to set up an investing account, or they were deterred by the exorbitant commissions taken by some brokerages, or else they simply couldn’t decide what to invest in.

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