Aspiration, a Los Angeles-based neobank oriented around conscious consumerism, announced an investment Wednesday from producer, actor and investor Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, which was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Digital Davos event.
As part of the development, Benzinga spoke with Aspiration co-founder and CEO Andrei Cherny.
What Happened: The biggest challenge facing consumers in finance is a lack of trust; it’s tough to discern whether financial institutions are acting in the interest of customers and sharing their values.
That’s according to Cherny, a historian, policy expert, lawyer, and former Clinton White House aide who spent nearly 20 years working to democratize finance.
The fintech founder pivoted to a career in finance after he and his co-founder realized incumbent institutions were leaving a vast majority of Americans behind, he said.
“We started Aspiration with the goal of creating something really different in the financial industry, at a time that more and more people were looking to put their values into action.”
Based in L.A. for its technology ecosystem, the neobank is looking to build a better world through socially conscious sustainable cash management services and investment products.
Client funds, unlike at larger institutions, do not make their way into "polluting" initiatives or campaign contributions to politicians that work against consumers, Cherny said.
“Your deposits are fossil fuel free, firearm free, and so on, in a way that is not true if you’re leaving your money at any of the top 20 or so biggest banks,” the co-founder said in a discussion surrounding the firm’s personal sustainability score, known as the Aspiration Impact Measurement, or AIM.
“The AIM score is a little bit like a Fitbit for sustainability and allows you to see how you’re doing when it comes to sustainable spending.”
Through AIM, users can measure their consumption impact, as well as how businesses treat employees and the environment.
Why It Matters: Aspiration’s initiatives have attracted over 3 million members and investments of the likes of Clippers coach Doc Rivers and actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
FootPrint Coalition’s involvement is a sign that the firm’s vision for finance resonates with the masses, Cherny said.
“It is great to have a partner like Robert Downey Jr. and the FootPrint Coalition,” he said.
“Because of the seriousness and credibility of what they’re doing in this space around investing in businesses that are at the forefront of responding to the climate crisis, and also because of the platform and voice they have to awaken a lot of people out there to the ways in which their money, in their bank account, can be a negative for the things they care about in the world, but also a tool to really enact positive change.”
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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