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Aspiration

Aspiration is an American financial services company that specializes in investment tools for the middle class and touts a commitment to trust between its clients and investment team. The company, which launched in Los Angeles in 2014, offers three products: a mutual fund that invests in companies that employ sustainable practices; a long-term growth strategy mutual fund; and a high-yield checking account that comes with a 1% annual percentage yield and free ATM access worldwide. Aspiration also offers a pay-as-you-wish model that lets customers pay the Aspiration team whatever fee they deem fair. The company promises to donate 10% of its revenue to charity. The "Do Well, Do Good" motto seems to be working: More than 90% of the company's tens of thousands of clients opt to pay Aspiration to manage their money (rather than go for the $0 fee). In return, the company deploys investment savvy on its clients' behalf that it says was once only available to the wealthiest Americans. In 2015, the company raised $15.5 million in funding. Next up, it will try to take on the big investment firms with its do-good model.

The company's competitive advantage in 2016:

Its buzzed-about model

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:

The competition of much bigger sites in the space

What to look out for:

Expanded account offerings, including joint accounts, IRAs, and more

Social media handles:

Twitter: @aspiration
Instagram: @aspiration
Facebook: Facebook.com/AspirationInvestments
Youtube: youtube.com/aspirationmedia

50 Most Innovative Companies 2016

Data

competition
Betterment, Wealthfront
people
Cofounder and CEO Andrei Cherny; Chair of the board of advisors Joseph N. Sanberg
public or private
Private
headquarters
Los Angeles, CA

More About Aspiration: