It only makes sense to call a company a sound you like to hear. This is exactly what CEO and co-founder Andy Rachleff must have had in mind. His new company -- kaChing, of course -- is backed by Marc Andreesen (a name often associated with that sound) and Jeff Jordan, the CEO of OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), two guys who usually do a solid job of backing winners. But, they've taken on a challenge by backing a company in the financial services industry.
Rachleff's new venture is a for-pay website that will provide advice to investors that don't really trust Wall Street any more. kaChing is a registered financial adviser that's using an angle consisting of lower fees, transparency, and easy-to-use technology to attract users. Since many financial professionals are starting to come under attack because of the fees they're charging, kaChing thinks there's room to win by coming in cheap and overdelivering information.
According to Rachleff, in Reuters, "This is a $10 trillion industry with no innovation in 25 years," continuing, "there are a lot of consumers that are upset and frustrated with their mutual funds. But how do you decide if your mutual fund manager is doing a good job? No one is quite sure."
Unlike most of what we saw before the financial crisis, in which the big gun clients are the hottest turf, kaChing is going after investors with net worths below $1 million. This group has invested an aggregate $3.7 trillion in mutual funds, so a company that can get some traction has plenty of upside. To expand its reach and make it easier to grow rapidly in a large community of smaller investors, kaChing's capabilities are being extended to the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone, Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) websites, and Facebook.
Taking on the mutual funds directly, kaChing is charging 1% of assets under management for the year, compared to up to 3% charged by mutual funds. And, Rachleff touts the increased transparency and greater decision-making freedom. The investor can choose from several "geniuses" to help manage their money. These helpers pocket 75% of the fee, with the rest going to kaChing.