Betterment Embraces the Cryptocurrency Revolution with Makara Acquisition
  • Investment platform Betterment will acquire cryptocurrency portfolio manager Makara. Terms were not disclosed.
  • The acquisition will enable Betterment to incorporate automated, personalized digital asset investing into its roboadvisory services.
  • Seattle, Washington-based Makara was founded in 2021 and has raised $2.1 million in seed funding.

Mr. Money Mustache may not like it. But the news that online investment platform Betterment has agreed to acquire cryptocurrency portfolio manager Makara is yet another sign that incumbent fintechs are playing a major role in helping crypto go mainstream.

“Crypto is here to stay and Betterment wants to live our promise of long-term diversification and to provide our customers with the best variety of assets in the marketplace,” Betterment CEO Sarah Levy explained. Levy praised the Makara acquisition as a unique opportunity to bring Betterment customers managed cryptocurrency portfolios “combined with the guidance and ease-of-use that have defined Betterment.”

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Makara was founded in 2021 by Jesse Proudman and Sadie Raney. The company is the first crypto-based roboadvisor to be registered with the SEC, and offers investment exposure to the cryptocurrency market that is both automated and personalized to the investor’s goals and preferences. Makara investors can select cryptocurrencies organized into thematic baskets – Bitcoin, Blue Chip, Decentralized Finance, Ethereum, Inflation Hedge, Metaverse, Universe, and Web 3.0 – that cover the wide (and growing) range of digital asset offerings.

Betterment leverages passive index-tracking and fixed income ETFs to offer goal-based investing strategies via both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts such traditional and Roth IRAs. The addition of Makara will enable the New York-based investment platform to give investors the ability to diversify their accounts without having to worry about selecting individual digital assets. The acquisition will also make it easier for Betterment’s financial advisor customers to offer cryptocurrency exposure to their clients without those advisors having to be experts in the digital asset arena.

The acquisition is expected to close later in Q1 of 2022. Makara’s team of experts and engineers will join the Betterment team at that point.

“We developed Makara to bring an easy and accessible long-term investing approach to cryptocurrencies,” Makara co-founder and CEO Jesse Proudman said. “Combining our crypto expertise with Betterment’s scale will accelerate the growth of the platform with both retail investors and financial advisors.”

Betterment made its Finovate debut in 2010, winning Best of Show for its online savings and investment platform. In the years since, the company has grown into one of the world’s leading digital investment advisors, with more than 700,000 customers and more than $33 billion in assets under management. Last fall, the company announced raising $160 million in funding – including a $60 million in Series F equity investment – earning the New York-based firm a valuation of $1.3 billion.

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