20. Wealthfront

Online wealth management

Adam Nash, CEO of Wealthfront
Source: Eric Millette | Wealthfront
Adam Nash, CEO of Wealthfront

Founders: Dan Carroll,Andy Rachleff
CEO: Adam Nash
Date launched: 2011
Funding: $65.5 million
Industries disrupted: Banks, Investing, Personal Finance
Disrupting: Blackrock, Fidelity, JPMorganChase
Competition: Betterment, Motif Investing, Personal Capital


Wealthfront has become the go-to financial investment firm for the young up-and-comers of Silicon Valley. Employees from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to name a few, have been flocking to the Palo Alto, California-based company to buy low-cost exchange-traded funds. The minimum accounts size is just $5,000, and the company will manage the first $10,000 for free. After that, it costs just .25 percent per year.

There are no commission fees. Wealthfront is banking on the idea that effortless automation will appeal to scores of investors—especially younger ones—who are just starting out and don't want to pay lofty commissions for actively managed portfolios. It puts together a diversified collection of index funds that suits a client's risk tolerance and then periodically rebalances it to make sure it stays that way.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2014 CNBC DISRUPTOR 50

Accounts are accessible 24/7 from any computer, tablet or smartphone. The company's management team is chock-full of tech talent, led by CEO Adam Nash, who helped build LinkedIn and eBay. So far, the company has about $1 billion in assets under management.

Who do you dream of putting out of business?

"We've all seen the Wolf of Wall Street. We'd love to see a world where individuals aren't preyed on by sharks and parasites looking to enrich themselves by selling high-cost, inappropriate investments." -Adam Nash, CEO

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