Technology is eating the world and finance is no exception. From crowdfunding platforms that remove traditional barriers to capital, to decentralized finance enabling peer-to-peer transactions, capital allocation is becoming faster, more connected, and increasingly transparent. But we are still in the early innings of realizing the full potential of transforming capital markets.
OpenInvest is helping drive that change, harnessing technology to help investors make more informed decisions. We were founded with a mission: to build technology that aligns people’s capital with their values and desired outcomes. After being acquired by J.P. Morgan last summer, we are well-positioned to help drive positive change in the financial ecosystem.
By adding personalization and values alignment to the existing systems advisors and clients already know and trust, we have the potential to influence a tremendous amount of capital. We’re at the precipice of a massive undertaking – to seamlessly connect people’s values to their money at a scale that has the potential to impact the global financial landscape.
Our founding thesis
OpenInvest started with a simple goal: to work on an ambitious problem that could do as much good in the world as possible. Given our foundations in sustainable investing and building scalable, complex financial systems, we set out to build an asset management platform with personalized value filters. By pointing capital towards environmental and social causes - such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, and racial justice - we saw that we could help the everyday investor drive positive change through their portfolio. In 2016, we were established as a Public Benefit Corporation, a designation that allowed us to permanently install our mission into our legal charter: to mainstream values-based investing through technology.
By pointing capital towards environmental and social causes - such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, and racial justice - we saw that we could help the everyday investor drive positive change through their portfolio.
The mission provided the foundation for growing OpenInvest. The final pillar - being an excellent place to work - emerged as a result of our continued dedication to working with passionate and driven people. Everyone wants to have a healthy and productive work culture, but because we were evaluating companies’ business practices, we knew we had to set the standard and lead by example.
Guided by these principles, OpenInvest grew and eventually unleashed an array of differentiated front-end features: seamless customization, full transparency, ability to invest or divest on the fly, sustainability reporting, and even voting in shareholder resolutions with a swipe.
OpenInvest gained traction from the groundwork we laid ahead of the recent sustainable investing wave. Amidst that growth, we entered into conversations with J.P. Morgan. By combining our approach and technology with J.P. Morgan’s reach, we knew this opportunity would massively scale our impact as a company. We were officially acquired in the summer of 2021, and our attention turned to maintaining the cultural elements of OpenInvest and executing the vision we’d developed over the years.
Our theory of change
The world is becoming increasingly complicated, and at an exponential rate. We have to make so many decisions - how to invest, where to work, how to spend our time, money, and attention - and each one has the potential to make an impact. We also, all of us, have ideas about how to improve our communities and society at large. But in order to connect every decision with our values, we would have to research hundreds of board member candidates, shareholder resolutions, and endless corporate disclosures. With constant demands on our attention and only so much time and cognitive effort available to us, how could we manage to do this?
This is where technology comes in. Software can already create an investment portfolio based on your values. Connected technology can then weave these preferences into every dimension of your life, curating custom consumer purchases, shareholder voting recommendations, media feeds, and more. You could receive notifications about how your latest grocery run impacts animal welfare or deforestation, and recommendations for how you can make a more value-aligned decision for your next purchase.
Our theory of change is this: as a fiduciary agent armed with a rich understanding of clients’ values, we can create a more responsible and transparent system for allocating capital. At the individual level, people would have the tools to live out their values through their financial actions. At the societal level, individuals empowered with new choices that our future platform affords could aggregate into powerful forces for social change. For example, if everyone who believes that factory farming is wrong had the ability to rotate capital away from the worst offenders and into a basket of sustainability-focused innovators, all while making spending decisions that comport with their values, changes already brewing in the agricultural industry would accelerate and deepen.
By making values alignment a feature that flows seamlessly across all assets, and doing it at scale, we’re well-positioned to help make our economy healthier, sustainable, and infinitely responsive to new data.
How we’ll get there
J.P. Morgan recognizes the technology-led disruption that is coming for asset and wealth management, in the same way technology has come for many other industries. We have a broader mandate to not only integrate and improve our existing technology, but to maintain a fintech-level pace of innovation within the organization.
Our unique position unlocks the best attributes of both banks and fintechs: the stability and built-in market of a bank with the flexibility and growth mindset of a startup. With the space to experiment and develop, we can extend our capabilities to giving, spending, and proxy voting. In other words, investing is just the beginning - we’re on a mission to overlay values across the global economy. If we achieve our goal, values alignment will not only be mainstream, it will be fully integrated into our daily financial touchpoints.
Ever since our founding, we knew we wanted to tackle a challenging, ambitious problem with passionate and driven people. Our vision hasn’t changed, but our platform is now undeniable. We take our responsibility seriously – we believe in technology’s ability to express people’s full, multi-faceted selves in finance, and that leveraging that impact can upgrade the rails of capitalism for the better. The stakes are higher than ever. And we’re just getting started.
If you want to work towards building a better future – we’re hiring. Come build with us.