News & Analysis

Melbourne automated investment advice startup Clover raises seed round led by Equipsuper

- September 28, 2015 2 MIN READ

Melbourne FinTech startup Clover, an automated investment advice platform, has announced the raising of a seed funding round by a number of investors including superannuation fund Equipsuper. Though the startup wasn’t willing to reveal the exact amount, Startup Daily was able to confirm that Clover raised over $1 million.

Founded by Harry Chemay, Darcy Naunton, Warren Burns, and Sahil Kaura in 2014, Clover uses algorithms to help users create goal-based investment portfolios that are periodically rebalanced toward goal attainment. 

The investment from Equip, which has $7 billion under management, will see Clover’s technology be rolled out through its own automated advice service, aimed at its younger members, in March next year. Danielle Press, CEO of Equip, said that Equip believes super funds “have no option but to integrate FinTech into their service offer.”

“We certainly do not intend to be left sitting on the sidelines as member demand for online enablement makes offering these services essential to surviving and thriving in the financial services sector…our involvement with Clover will enable us to extend the reach of our advice offering to members who would not seek it through more traditional advice channels,” Press said.

Equip is the latest super fund to make a move in the startup space, following the announcing of First State Super and HostPLUS as investors in Blackbird VC’s new $200 million fund earlier this month.

Clover CEO Harry Chemay, who previously worked with Equip on its MyPension solution, said though technology has “fundamentally” changed many areas of finance, investment advice is still delivered the same way as it was in his first financial planning role at KPMG almost two decades ago.

“Clients are still burdened with lengthy advice and disclosure documents that are difficult to comprehend, are ushered into expensive investment products that are often opaque, and face on-going advice regimes that vary enormously in frequency and quality,” he said. 

“Australians should seek guidance on their personal finances earlier in life and not just when nearing retirement, but there are many barriers to this happening at present. It’s easier to order a pizza online and track its progress to your door than it is to set your financial goals online and track their progress to attainment. We aim to change that.”

Before going live, Clover must obtain an Australian Financial Services Licence from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), a process which Chemay said is tracking well.

“We have already had some positive interactions with ASIC, including at Commissioner level. We are encouraged by ASIC’s approach to financial innovation, and its preparedness to apply the principle of competitive neutrality in regulating emerging financial technologies,” he said. 

The startup is currently putting together a panel of advisors to help guide its growth plans. Neil Detering, co-founder of trading systems and market data provider IRESS, has joined the panel, with Clover set to announce the chair of its investment committee over the coming weeks.

Image:  Anthony Ryan, Warren Burns, Harry Chemay, Sahil Kaura, Neil Detering, and Darcy Naunton. Source: Provided

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