Alinea, a smart investing app for a younger generation of investors, formally announced the closure of a $2.1 million raise led by Y Combinator, with participation from Goodwater Capital, Harvard Management Company, Kima Ventures and Dragon Capital, among others.
As part of the development, Benzinga spoke with Alinea co-CEO and co-founder Anam Lakhani.
Background: In light of the pandemic, traditional trends in finance were flipped on their head.
That’s according to Lakhani who says investors, like her — who are now more inclined to save and invest, rather than spend and borrow — are yearning for ways to better understand and engage with markets.
“We came back from internships on Wall Street and the one thing we had to ask ourselves was, ‘How do we invest our money,’” the Columbia University alumnus said. “That’s when we had this idea for creating a platform that would make it easy for you to invest in things that mattered to you, removing this feeling of anxiety so many new and young investors experience.”
In 2021, Eve Halimi and Lakhani founded Alinea Invest, a simpler way for users to invest in stocks they believe in.
Core Product: Alinea differentiates itself on cost, technology and information.
After assessing a user’s interests, values and tolerance to risk, the platform curates a list of investments — stacks — best suited to their preferences.
Stacks are essentially a basket of stocks that reflect a particular theme or strategy, analogous to a playlist of songs and a person’s music taste. As a result, with stacks, Alinea tackles head-on the most common problem: a lack of knowledge and direction.
“Stacks allows you to invest in multiple stocks or investments in one click,” Lakhani explained. “It’s a safer way of investing as it diversifies your investments off the bat, removing that confidence barrier and those feelings of being overwhelmed because you don’t have to go out and pick a single stock.”
Because stacks are curated based on users’ preferences, potential investments are more so value-aligned.
“We have a clean energy stack, a combat carbon stack, and we offer impact scores on stocks,” Lakhani added. “You can really evaluate if an investment aligns with your personal values.”
Note On Accessibility: To explore, learn, and curate investments, users are not obligated to fill out long forms.
“You enter your phone number, verify it, and you can start exploring,” Lakhani said. “We actually give you a good amount of insight into individual stocks. We also have features on how each company makes money, we show you if a fund is managed by Vanguard or iShares, as well as how long it’s been around for and some of the top holdings.”
When users are ready to invest, they fill out some additional forms to get full access to trading functionality.
Recent Events, Innovation Outlook: In addition to partnering with brands such as Benzinga to expand the depth and breadth its product offers, Alinea announced the closure of a $2.1 million raise.
Funds will be used to help scale products, as well as hone in on design and engineering.
“Our vision is to make sure you can make a financial profit but also not have to compromise your values,” Lakhani said on what comes next after graduating from Y Combinator's Startup School in winter 2021.
“The next generation of investors want autonomy over their investment choices and I think we’ve started to evolve from this model of trusting individuals or institutions to handle our money,” she said.
Going forward, given its focus on a generation conscious about financial sustainability, Alinea will also be working on social engagement initiatives, among other things.
“We’re definitely experimenting and looking into the social side of things,” Lakhani ended.
“We’re really focused on those people who don’t want to take those day-to-day risks, ... building out functionality so people can create and share their own stacks.”
Photo: Courtesy of Alinea
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