EP 32: OpenInvest Ensures Your Money Backs the Issues You Care About

Josh Levin | Co-Founder of OpenInvest

Josh Levin, Co-Founder of OpenInvest, explains how his business simplifies and amplifies values-based investing.

josh levin of OpenInvest

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Episode Summary

OpenInvest helps people buy a collection of stocks that align with their personal interests and causes they care about — all without involving a fund manager and related fees. Users of its proprietary platform invest in businesses that do good for the environment, say, or those that foster gender equality in the workplace.

“A traditional financial advisor would probably try to stop you from investing this way,” explains co-founder Josh Levin. “But, if you insisted, they would probably buy two funds: A green fund for the environment and a gender fund for gender diversity.”

Levin explains that this combination could make the investor “overweight in healthcare and technology,” leading to a potentially bad financial outcome thanks to a lack of diversification and redundant management fees. OpenInvest, instead, deploys software that directly buys up underlying stocks to create customized portfolios that tightly track with the benchmarks or indices consumers are used to seeing in traditional mutual funds.

“It looks and feels like a fund, but it’s actually not a fund,” Levin says of OpenInvest’s solution.

The technology that makes this direct ownership possible could become the star of OpenInvest’s show.

“We’ve developed systems and a technology infrastructure that we think is a better way to execute equities management,” Levin continues. “Our dynamic software constantly reoptimizes for the goals and the values of the client. It could ultimately replace mutual funds and ETFs.”

Another highlight of OpenInvest’s platform is that users are able to divest from companies that don’t align with their interests. For instance, individuals and wealth managers can easily drop from their portfolios known contributors to carbon emissions pollution, possible gun violence, or dark money in politics.

Listen to this episode of Founders & Funders for more on how OpenInvest works, how the idea originally sparked, and why Josh’s former co-workers were shocked to discover he was admitted to Harvard. And don’t forget to subscribe to Founders & Funders on iTunesTuneInStitcherGoogle PlayiHeartRADIO, and Android.

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