Technology is eating the world, and finance is no exception. From crowdfunding platforms to decentralized banking, traditional barriers to finance are giving way to enable faster, more connected, and increasingly transparent methods of capital allocation. But we are still in the early innings of transforming the investing landscape to reach a fuller potential.

OpenInvest is contributing to that transformation by harnessing innovations that empower investors to make more informed decisions. We were founded with a mission: to build insights and technology that align people’s capital with their values and desired outcomes. After being acquired by J.P. Morgan in 2021, we are better positioned than ever to continue adding personalization and values alignment to the existing systems that advisors and clients already trust, at significant scale.

Our founding thesis  

OpenInvest started with a simple goal: to work on an ambitious problem that could do as much good in the world as possible. In 2016, we were established as a Public Benefit Corporation, a designation that allowed us to permanently install our mission into our legal charter: mainstreaming values-based investing through technology.

With foundations in building scalable financial systems that helped to amplify values-based investing, we set out to design an asset management platform with personalized value filters. By pointing capital towards environmental and social Causes—such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting ethical supply chains, and championing racial justice—we saw that we could help the everyday investor craft a portfolio that reflects their individual principles.

Grounded by a clear goal and our mission, OpenInvest expanded to offer an array of products and services for values-conscious advisors and investors, including seamless customization, full transparency, the ability to invest or divest on the fly, sustainability reporting, and even voting in shareholder resolutions with a swipe.

As OpenInvest continued to gain traction, so did sustainable investing writ larger. Amidst that momentum, we entered into conversations with J.P. Morgan, which led to OpenInvest’s acquisition. This partnership presented the opportunity to bring our vision for a more values-aligned future to a larger scale, and we began combining our approach and technology with the reach of one of the world’s largest banks.

Our theory of change

The world is becoming increasingly and exponentially more complicated. Everyone is faced with making countless complex decisions in their lives, from how to invest, where to work, and how to spend time, money, or attention. Each of us has the potential to influence the world around us through these choices, large and small.

But in order to connect every one of our decisions with our values—and to extend the reach of those decisions—we would have to spend more time researching and reflecting than any of us have. Would the average person even want to calculate how they could allocate their personal capital in the most efficient way? With constant demands on our attention and only so much time and cognitive effort available to us, how could we do this effectively—or at all?

This is where values-based financial technology comes in. Software can already create an investment portfolio based on your principles. Connected technology can then weave these preferences into every dimension of your life by curating custom consumer purchases, shareholder voting recommendations, media feeds, and more. In the future, you could receive notifications about how your latest grocery run affects animal welfare or deforestation, and advice for how to make a more values-aligned decision for your next purchase.

All of this leads into our theory of change: as a fiduciary agent armed with a rich understanding of clients’ values, we can create a more responsible and transparent system for allocating capital. At the individual level, people would have the tools to live out their values through their financial actions. At the societal level, individuals empowered with new choices that our future platform affords could aggregate into powerful forces for social change. For example, if everyone who believes that factory farming is wrong had the ability to rotate capital away from the worst offenders and towards companies who consistently operate on a more sustainable model, shifts already brewing in the agricultural industry could accelerate and deepen.

By making values alignment a feature that flows seamlessly across all assets and doing it at scale, we’re taking steps towards making our economy healthier, more sustainable, and infinitely responsive to new data.  

How we’ll get there

J.P. Morgan recognizes the technology-led evolution that is coming for asset and wealth management, just as technology has altered many other industries. Instead of reacting to this change, we’re working together to help define the curve by maintaining a fintech-level pace of innovation within a longstanding institution.

We believe our unique partnership with J.P. Morgan unlocks the best attributes of both banks and fintechs: the stability and built-in market of a bank with the flexibility and growth mindset of a startup. With the space to experiment and develop, we can extend our capabilities to new initiatives like giving, spending, and proxy voting. In other words, investing is just the beginning—we’re forging a path that will enable us to overlay values across the global economy. If we achieve our goal, values alignment will not only be mainstream—it will be fully integrated into our daily financial touchpoints.

Looking to the future

Ever since our founding, we knew we wanted to tackle a challenging, ambitious problem with passionate and driven people. Our vision still holds true, but our platform now gives us the opportunity to bring our insights and capabilities to an even broader audience. At OpenInvest, we believe in leveraging technology to express people’s full, multi-faceted selves in finance. That’s what we’re working to actualize every day, and we’re just getting started.

Thank you for your curiosity about our journey—let’s build together.

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