Boston Fintech Gets $400k from Ashton Kutcher’s Firm and Salesforce Founder

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A Boston-based startup has drawn the eye of longtime actor Ashton Kutcher.

LearnLux, an online financial education hub for millennials, has won the Perfect Pitch competition hosted by Sound Ventures, a new tech investment firm launched by Kutcher and talent manager Guy Oseary.

While the initial prize for the event was $100,000, LearnLux Founders Rebecca and Michael Liebman ended up walking away with $400,000. According to VentureBeat, Sound Ventures doubled its investment to $200,000 and then famous entrepreneur and Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff put in another $200,000.

The competition was held in Austin, Texas and the panel of judges included actor Matthew McConaughey.

Founded by Rebecca and Michael Liebman, LearnLux provides online lessons to millennials on topics such as basic banking, retirement planning, insurance and building credit. The app also compares different types of competing accounts whether for refinancing student loans, opening a new credit card, applying for a personal loan and more.

“The financial services industry is hugely outdated and not relevant to society as it stands today,” Liebman told VentureBeat following the competition. “Most people think they’re bad at making financial decisions, when in reality financial services aren’t made for an evolving society.”

According to the LearnLux team, millennials wield $200 billion annual spending power, and are expected to inherit $30 trillion from baby boomers.

LearnLauch is a former company of Boston-based Rough Draft Ventures, a subsidiary of General Catalyst that makes investments in college startups.

When they chose to invest in the company in April 2016, the Rough Draft liked how the company was free unlike other fintech startups.

“The platform breaks down financial education into relevant case-by-case tutorials like ‘open a credit card’ or ‘taxes’ that users can complete at their own pace,” Denali Tietjen, an associate at General Catalyst, wrote in a blog post at the time. “It’s easily digestible content and interactive simulations make personal finance less intimidating.”

Sound Ventures said it received almost 200 submissions for the PerfectPitch competition, which it launched at SXSW. Other finalists included Jane.ai, Daymaker, IssueVoter and Omnivirt.

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