- The investing and savings start-up announces a $105 million Series E funding round on Monday, bringing Acorns’ valuation to $860 million.
- Investors in the Series E round include Comcast’s venture capital arm and NBCUniversal, which is now its largest shareholder, along with Bain Capital Ventures, BlackRock and others.
- The cash injections bring its valuation higher than those of micro-investing peers such as Betterment.
Investing and savings start-up Acorns is one step closer to a billion-dollar valuation.
The six-year-old company announced a Series E funding round on Monday that brings its valuation to $860 million, the company said. The new $105 million cash injection came from Comcast Ventures, NBCUniversal, Bain Capital Ventures, BlackRock, TPG's Rise Fund, DST and Michael Dell's MSD Capital.
NBCUniversal, which is now Acorns' biggest shareholder, will also receive a seat on the start-up's board. It will be filled by CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman. Acorns — which its CEO, Noah Kerner, describes as a "financial wellness system" — also announced it is partnering with CNBC to produce original content.
The new valuation is more than three times what it was after its 2016 fundraising round. It also tops two industry competitors. Robo-advisor Betterment, by comparison, has a $700 million valuation, while Wealthfront is valued at $500 million, according to Pitchbook.
Irvine, California-based Acorns is best known for saving and investing services products, which have ushered in 4.5 million users. One of its five products allows customers to automatically invest the spare change from debit or credit card purchases. If an Acorns user buys a latte for $2.75, the mobile app would round up to the nearest dollar and put that remaining 25 cents into an Acorns investment account, which is then put into professionally managed index funds.
It also has an automated retirement account service called "Acorns Later" that has brought on more than 350,000 investors who have invested $40 million to date, according to the company.
The average Acorns customer is around 32 years old with an income between $50,000 and $60,000. But it has also attracted customers as old as 98, Kerner said. The CNBC partnership is designed to reach an "up-and-coming" financial audience, who are less financially savvy.
Disclosure: Comcast owns CNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal.