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CEO Aims to Make Financial Planning Easy

When Alexa von Tobel founded the financial planning startup LearnVest, her goal was to "make financial planning as easy and as accessible as joining a gym."

The website offers financial planning content and budgeting tools for free, and offers access to certified financial planners for a fee.

While the company isn't alone in this space, von Tobel thinks LearnVest can stand out. She took part in CNBC's "Power Pitch," which gave her 60 seconds to provide a glimpse into her company and make the case that it has what it takes to succeed.

Von Tobel is not new to the startup scene. After leaving her trading job at Morgan Stanley she became the Head of Business Development at Drop.io. She then enrolled at Harvard Business School but took a leave of absence in 2008 to pursue her dream of bringing financial literacy to the masses. (Read More:Q&A With LearnVest CEO and Founder)

Since founding the company in 2009, LearnVest has raised nearly $25 million dollars. One of its key investors is Accel Partners, who has backed companies such as Facebook, Etsy, and Kayak.

While it offers free financial content and a mobile budgeting tool, LearnVest also provides certified financial planners who can view the subscribers' Learnvest "dashboard" and make recommendations—for a fee. It costs subscribers between $89-$599 per year.

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While there are other financial companies that offer free budgeting service, like Mint.com, von Tobel said LearnVest's "major advantage is technology."

Von Tobel won't disclose the percentage of growth year over year, but she said they have hundreds of thousands of users, and are growing organically through referrals and business deals.

"Ninety-two percent of the paying users are likely to refer to a friend," she said.

-By CNBC's Erin Barry

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  • CNBC's "Power Lunch" is giving CEOs a chance to make a 60 second "Power Pitch" aimed to convince a panel of experts that their start-up has what it takes to succeed.

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