M1 Finance is an online financial services company with headquarters in Chicago, IL. The company is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a broker dealer and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
M1 Finance is also known as a robo-advisor. In December 2017, it eliminated fees on its platform. As of May 2020, the company had over $1 billion in assets under management.. In 2020, New York-based Left Lane Capital led a US$ 33 million Series B round in M1 Finance.
As of July 2020, the company was rated 4.6 stars on the App Store.
M1 Finance’s founder, Brian Barnes, said on the company blog that he has been investing since he was in fifth grade. When his teacher assigned his class a mock-investing project, his parents offered to give him a small sum to invest in real markets.
As an adult, Barnes wanted an easy way to invest earnings from his first job. When he couldn’t find the features he wanted on any investing platforms currently on the market, he decided to create his own. He launched M1 Finance in 2016 with the ability to automate monthly deposits, maintain a preset portfolio allocation, and make funds easy to withdraw.
A critic of the fees charged by investment advisors, Barnes has stated that one of M1 Finance’s goals is to keep investing costs as low as possible to enable platform participants to grow wealth. The platform initially charged investors a .25% fee to invest, but eliminated that fee in December 2017, which Andy Rachleff, CEO of competitor Wealthfront, called a “desperate move by a late entrant.”
After eliminating its fees, M1 Finance’s user base doubled within two months to nearly 25,000 and its AUM rose to $100 million. Barnes has said that financial services companies that hope to attract users from the millennial generation must offer convenience, automation, and low costs.
In Investopedia’s 2019 Best Robo-Advisor Awards, M1 Finance was ranked Best for Sophisticated Investors and Best for Socially Responsible Investing and #2 overall. The company also earned a "50 on Fire" nod from ChicagoInno in 2019.
In February 2020, M1 Finance eclipsed $1 billion in assets on its platform, reaching that milestone faster than other fintech companies, including Acorns, Betterment, Stash, and Wealthfront.
In June 2020, M1 Finance announced its Series B funding round of $33 million. The funding was led by Left Lane Capital and included Jump Capital and Clocktower Technology Ventures.
M1 Finance currently offers three products: M1 Invest, its original investment product, M1 Borrow, which lets account holders borrow against their accounts, and M1 Spend, a checking account and debit card.
M1 Plus is a membership program with a $125 annual fee that gives the customer additional features in their accounts, including a lower interest rate on M1 Borrow, a higher APY and cash-back on M1 Spend, more investment options in M1 Invest, and a few other additional features over the free account.
M1 Finance earns revenue from fees from lending customers’ money and securities, fees from the M1 Borrow product, fees from the M1 Plus membership program, and payment for order flow, a practice that has been somewhat controversial.
Highest paying job titles at M1 Finance include Software Engineer, Data Analytics Manager, and DevOps Engineer