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From Her First $100K to three Million Followers

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By comparison, putting $500 in a preferred portfolio on the roboadviser Betterment costs just $1.25 a 12 months (0.25 percent of the cash invested, plus a tad more for the underlying investments). Ellevest, a roboadviser geared toward women, charges $12 annually for its most simple investment plan, and includes extras like online workshops and email courses from certified financial planners.

“There are cheaper options, and yet so many individuals just don’t invest, period,” said Treasury’s chief executive, Elias Rothblatt, who founded the service with Ivar Vong.

He said Treasury’s goal was to provide users the nudge they needed to start. “In the event you put $50 or $100 right into a low-cost investment and that makes you’re feeling like, ‘Oh, cool, I learned about investing,’ then that could be a major win,” he said.

The service, which became available to the general public in January, has drawn 2,000 users who’ve invested nearly $13.5 million. In 2021, it helped people invest $4 million of that in its private beta testing. More seasoned investors also see the appeal: Start-up funders, led by Bloomberg Beta, have put in greater than $1.25 million.

Nearly 270 people took part in that February session. Ms. Dunlap began with a pep talk before diving into explanations dotted with metaphor. She likened buying shares of Amazon, for instance, to “owning a grain of sand on Bezos’ beach.”

A bit blue counter ticked away within the corner of the screen, tracking total dollars invested as participants made purchases, buying shares of investments just like the Vanguard Total World Stock E.T.F., State Street’s Global Diversity Index E.T.F. and more. Greater than half bought something in that hour, spending roughly $120 each — a modest sum, but a meaningful first step.

“This will not be TJ Maxx’s candle aisle,” Ms. Dunlap joked as trades piled up within the chat stream. “Please make smart decisions.”

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