OpenInvest helps retail investors back companies that share their values
Want to be a “woke” investor?
OpenInvest, a new company based in San Francisco, has raised $3.25 million in new financing from one of venture capital’s biggest names with claims that it can help both your stock portfolio and your moral compass point in the right direction.
Most millennials, apparently, want to invest in companies that align with their values, according to a Morgan Stanley survey the company cited.
Catering to those needs, OpenInvest has set up a series of screens working with different datasets and industry groups to ensure that any companies an investor wants to back have practices that put them on the “right” side with issues like climate change, fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers, gender equality, LGBTQ workplace treatment, deforestation, tobacco, DAPL supporters, or even companies that support President Donald J. Trump.
Using the company’s website, would-be investors fill out a survey of the issues that matter to the most and then OpenInvest does the rest.
The company’s founders, ex-hedge funders who worked to build Bridgewater Associates into a multi-billion dollar hedge fund behemoth, ostensibly know what their doing.
OpenInvest raised its cash from investors including Andreessen Horowitz (one of venture capital’s leading firms) along with Abstract Ventures and
“We launched OpenInvest last September and experienced explosive growth in the wake of the presidential election and increased social activism,” said Conor Murray, chief executive officer of OpenInvest in a statement.
“We are building a new class of ‘activist-passive’ investors, who can use OpenInvest’s proprietary tools to easily divest-invest based on their passions and values, while portfolios auto-rebalance to stay broadly tracking the performance of the market,” Murray said.
The power of the purse has always been something that retail — and even large financial services firms — use to influence corporate behavior. Indeed, some multi-million dollar corporations have changed courses when they see their sources of capital dry up.
Divestment made a difference in everything from the apartheid movement in South Africa to the ouster of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News, so these money movements can matter. Most recently large financial services firms have been pulling money out of investments in companies that they see as not doing enough to address climate change issues.
OpenInvest is democratizing a movement that has already captured a significant percentage of institutional dollars, but in a much more powerful, granular, and approachable way,” said Alex Rampell, general partner, Andreessen Horowitz, in a statement (sorta proving my point).
Joining Murray and chief technology officer Phillip Wei (also co-founder of the wildly successful UK-based food delivery startup Deliveroo) in this mission to make investment more socially profitable is Josh Levin, an impact investment guru who previously managed the sustainable finance program for the World Wildlife Fund.
So for those folks who believe that greed… and green… are both good, OpenInvest may be the service for you.