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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Rock Bets On a Robo

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking? It's a roboadvisor partnership!

Noah Kerner
Yesterday Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns, confirmed that business partners Dwayne Johnson (a pro-wrestler-turned-actor/entrepreneur) and Dany Garcia (a wealth management entrepreneur) are investing in Irvine, California-based Acorns. And Johnson's also teaming up with Acorns on a special promotion.

The size and terms of the deal were not disclosed. Yet as of Acorns' last round, back in 2019, they had raised a total of $207 million so far. As of Acorns' most recent ADV, filed two months ago, the firm has 17 non-clerical staff working about $1.822 billion in AUM across 2.955 million accounts. Acorns charges flat monthly subscriptions instead of asset-based fees, and it builds portfolios out of ETFs.

Johnson (also known as "The Rock") and Garcia are co-parents and former spouses, and they're also co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies (which includes a film and TV production company). Earlier this month, they teamed up with a private equity firm to buy a bankrupt sports league.

In addition to investing in Acorns, Johnson is also partnering with them on "It begins with $7 bucks." The roboadvisor offers Acorns Early, an account through which families can save and invest on behalf of their kids, and for a couple weeks (until September 7), Johnson will put $7 into each new Acorns Family account. (The amount echoes that of Garcia and Johnson's company, which in turn hearkens back to the amount of money Johnson had after being cut from the Canadian Football League in 1995.)

"Acorns was founded on the power of humble beginnings," Kerner states. "We are excited to partner with Dwayne and Dany to encourage more Americans to start investing early."

Garcia, an alumna of Merrill Lynch who launched her own wealth management firm, lauds Acorns as "an incredible financial organization deeply rooted in its commitment to impact and empower the lives of consumers." Johnson frames the partnership as an effort "to make saving for the next generation a reality for everyone."

Johnson and Garcia join a host of other Acorns backers, such as: other Hollywood types, including a singer-actress who Acorns' Kerner once DJed for; a baseball star and a basketball star; an allied fintech giant; a giant media company; big mutual fund firms on both counts; and many more. 

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