Northwestern Mutual shutting down LearnVest’s financial planning services

Milwaukee-based company acquired the fintech startup in 2015

Last updated on October 15th, 2019 at 03:23 pm

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced it is discontinuing the core product of LearnVest, an online financial planning firm it acquired three years ago.

The Milwaukee-based life insurance company said it will shut down Learnvest’s planning services for customers and its employer plan for businesses in the coming weeks.

In a recent statement, Northwestern Mutual touted the move as the “next step in integration” with the fintech startup it acquired for a reported $250 million in 2015. Under the acquisition, LearnVest became a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual while retaining its brand.

“Now, with more consumers wanting an end-to-end experience—that is, working with an advisor to create a personalized financial plan and take action on it—the companies are further integrating under the Northwestern Mutual umbrella,” the company’s statement said.

The acquisition has been seen as a catalyst for the company’s evolution in recent years from a traditional life insurance company to a financial services company with a greater focus on innovation and digital tools.

“Since the acquisition three years ago, LearnVest’s entrepreneurial drive and digital expertise have helped accelerate Northwestern Mutual’s progress on transforming our client experience, and we’re extremely proud of the milestones we’ve achieved so far,” the company said.

LearnVest will re-launch later this year “as a fresh, digital resource focused on educating consumers on how to meet their financial goals,” according to the statement. LearnVest’s website has been replaced with a statement saying the company is “a work in progress” and that the team is working on taking its “content to the next level.”

LearnVest was founded in 2009 and quickly scaled to 1.5 million users of its financial planning technology. The firm had 150 employees at the time of the acquisition.

Founder Alexa von Tobel has remained based out of New York as LearnVest’s chief executive officer since the acquisition. She was appointed chief digital officer at Northwestern Mutual last year, along with the appointment of three other Learnvest leaders to senior leadership positions within the Milwaukee company, aimed at propelling the company’s digital initiatives. Since its acquisition of LearnVest, Northwestern Mutual has also invested more in startups through its $50 million venture capital fund and a $5 million commitment to local startups announced last fall.

Representatives from both companies could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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