Disruptive financial planning startup Wealthfront has scored a big talent win today with the addition of Greylock EIR and former LinkedIn and eBay Product exec Adam Nash as COO.
For background, Wealthfront brings the quality investment theories of a fund manager online, at a much lower fee, essentially democratizing private wealth management to the masses. The startup is the brainchild of Andy Rachleff, who was formerly a founder of Benchmark Capital. At Wealthfront, Nash will be focused on directing the product, engineering and marketing teams, focusing immediately on adding about 30 percent to the company’s staff. He will oversee the majority of Wealthfront’s employees, says the company.
Nash was most recently at Greylock Partners as an Executive in Residence, where he advised the leadership teams of the firm’s existing consumer technology companies as well as evaluated new investment opportunities. Prior to joining Greylock, Adam was Vice President of Product Management at professional social network LinkedIn, where he led LinkedIn’s Platform and Mobile products, including the launch of LinkedIn’s open developer platform and the company’s applications and mobile web experiences.
Prior to joining LinkedIn, Nash held a number of leadership roles at eBay, including Director of eBay Express, a site focused on fixed-price products. Nash also held strategic and technical roles at Atlas Venture, Preview Systems and Apple.
Nash says he was drawn to Wealthfront because of the company’s mission to democratize access to sophisticated financial advice.
Nash recalls when he first started working at Hewlett Packard as an intern and made more money than he had in his professional life. He said that he had no idea what to do with his savings, and ended up buying a computer, and spent the money on other things. A few months later, the money he saved from HP was all gone.
After graduation, he formed an investing club with other engineers (including Michael Schroepfer of Facebook, Amy Chang of Google Analytics, and Scott Kleper at Adobe), which helped engineers learn about the equity markets and investing philosophies. The club lasted for more than seven years, and, as Nash remembers it, the club’s returns beat the S&P 500.
He sees a huge opportunity in broadening this to help people access diversified investments and advice. “Professionally, I think there’s an opportunity to build a really important company on a global scale…Everyone should have access to a balanced portfolio, and most people don’t have access to this.”
“Adam brings an incredible set of skills to help make our client experience the most delightful in finance. His experience in mobile platforms and social networks and his deep understanding of design will help us better serve our clients,” said Rachleff, who is CEO of the company. “His passion for personal finance is a huge bonus.”
As for what 2013 will bring for Wealthfront, Nash says he’s eager to help the company think of ways to truly delight its users and also look for ways to incorporate mobile into the mix.
Wealthfront has raised over $10 million from DAG Ventures and individual investors including Marc Andreessen and Jeff Jordan and partners from Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.