In the new episode of the BankNXT Fintech Podcast, I talk to Andy Rachleff, CEO and co-founder of Wealthfront. If you don’t know by now, Wealthfront is a robo-advisory service that can comfortably regard itself as one of the leading lights in fintech automation services. Andy founded Wealthfront in 2008, when it was known as kaChing, left a few years later, and returned at the end of 2016.
We discuss many topics over the course of half an hour, including Andy’s history with Benchmark Capital, why he retired from Benchmark, why he started Wealthfront, what it’s like to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs, and how young people will dictate the future of financial services.
“Too few companies, especially in financial services, put the customer first,” says Andy. “From our experience, young people have a very, very different perspective on what they want from financial services than people my age. I’m 58. People my age have been conditioned to have interpersonal relationships; to want to talk to someone. We hate it when we get voicemail when we call up a vendor. We want to talk to someone. Now my kids, who are 22 and 25, are the exact opposite. I can’t call them – I have to text them to have them call me! They prefer to do everything electronically, and I think that we really need – if we’re going to serve these new customers – we have to do it differently.
“There’s a school of thought in the financial services industry that when these people get older, they’re going to wake up and suddenly realise they want to talk to someone. To me, that’s the equivalent of, if you listen to rap music when you’re 25, when you turn 50 you’re going to listen to symphony. There’s no fucking way! I think it’s a generational thing. The vast majority of money is in the hands of baby boomers, and they need to be served very differently. We’re trying to serve a very different segment.”
Thanks again for listening in. I’m always open to discussion about who you think I should reach out to, especially if they’re doing something exciting in fintech. Please leave your comments below, or contact me on Twitter. You can catch other interviews on this page.You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.