The Wall Street veterans took to the streets of New York City and started polling people. Krieg says, "We started asking everyday people outside in Midtown, 'Do you invest?' And we kept hearing the same answers over and over again: 'No, but I really want to — I just find it confusing.' Or, 'No, but I'll do it later, when I'm rich.'"
They recognized two key problems. "One: Investing is not relatable — people aren't doing it because it's confusing and overwhelming," Krieg explains. "Two: People think they need to have a lot of money to start investing."
That's when Krieg and Robinson decided they would quit their jobs.
"The decision to leave was ultimately pretty easy for both of us," Robinson tells CNBC. "We saw this problem that affects tens and tens of millions of people in this country — and we said, we have to address it."
Using their financial backgrounds and experience, the co-founders launched Stash in October 2015. The platform allows anyone with a mobile phone and $5 to start investing in low-cost ETFs, which are essentially baskets of stocks and bonds.
When users sign up, Stash asks questions such as how old you are, what your income looks like and what your risk tolerance and time horizon are, in order to get an idea of what kind of investor you are. The app then recommends investments that suit your risk profile.
While Stash offers plenty of guidance, ultimately, it's up to the users to decide where they want to invest their money. Users can choose from a curated selection of over 30 ETFs. Here's an example of what your Stash portfolio may look like: