Brian Barnes of M1 FinanceStanford on Reinventing Millennial Investing

Brian Barnes is the CEO and Founder of M1 Finance, a startup making an automated investment tool that lets users put their money to work in a balanced portfolio without the hassle of actually managing it. Just a few years after graduating from Stanford, Brian raised $9 million and moved back to Chicago to build the platform.

In this installment, you’ll learn about the motivation behind Brian starting M1 Finance, how he went about launching a MVP in the heavily regulated finance industry, and how he raised $9 million before launching his company. Plus, we’ll discuss the benefits of robo-advisors over all ETFs, what M1 Finance costs and how they plan to differentiate from other robo-advisors, and how Brian got his first customers.

Additionally, we talk about what Brian has learned about life and business from his mom Brenda Barnes, Former CEO of Pepsi and Sara Lee, what the most effective marketing channels have been, how M1 Finance’s message has evolved over time, how to communicate a relatively complicated product to consumers quickly, the importance of design in fintech, why Brian moved back to Chicago after going to Stanford and whether he thinks it matters, and why Chicago has to improve our risk appetite.



Read more about the millennial generation on TechCo

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Colin Keeley is the founder and host of Tech In Chicago, an independent podcast with interviews from Chicago’s top startup founders and venture capitalists.
Back to top