San Francisco-based startup OpenInvest is empowering LGBT investors to ensure their stock portfolios include only companies deemed to be supportive of LGBT rights.
The online investing site, which claims to be the world’s first Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) platform for retail investors, makes it as easy as swiping left or right for its users to decide if they want to divest or invest with a certain company. And such decisions can now be made during a person’s commute, as OpenInvest this week released its first mobile app for its clients to manage their accounts on their handheld devices.
The platform can also notify users about stockholder initiatives and proxy fights targeted at companies in their portfolio and allow them to take action. It will also send users a notice when a company takes an action they may not support and ask them if they want to divest from it.
“Your investments really are one of the most powerful ways to change the world,” said Josh Levin, co-founder and chief strategy officer at OpenInvest, a Y Combinator and Andreessen-Horowitz -backed public benefit corporation. “You have a political vote and consumer choices, but your assets, if you have investments, really have an outsized impact. This weapon for most people is sitting on the shelf collecting dust. The goal with new technology is to get people into the game and make change in ways that never happened before.”
Instead of lumping all of a client’s investments into one fund, which makes it impossible to pick and choose individual companies to invest with, OpenInvest asks users to select from a dozen different themes, such as the environment or LGBT rights, that they care about it. Based on those choices, it will then suggest companies deemed supportive of those causes for a person to invest