NerdWallet Acquires Retirement Planning Startup aboutLife

By NerdWallet 
Edited by Rick VanderKnyff

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The birth of his second daughter in 2012 led Rajat Kongovi, founder of aboutLife, to conceive of a startup that would simplify financial choices for his family.

“I wanted to buy a house, open a college fund, update our life insurance policy and still put away enough to retire comfortably,” Kongovi recalls. “The information I found online was complicated, scattered and often inconsistent. It blew my mind that a task as critical as this didn’t have a simple solution.”

Here at NerdWallet, that’s a lament we know well. That’s why we’re delighted to announce our acquisition of aboutLife, as Kongovi and his five amazing employees join our team of nearly 400 Nerds.

“Our team shares NerdWallet’s mission to bring clarity to all of life’s financial decisions. Joining NerdWallet lets us pursue our shared vision within a hyper-growth company that has millions of dedicated users. We couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to make a real and lasting impact on everyone’s financial lives,” says Kongovi, a former Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group and later COO of social network hi5.

This is NerdWallet’s first acquisition since receiving $69 million in Series A funding in 2015. AboutLife, backed by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was founded in 2012.

“We are gaining six exceptionally talented individuals from aboutLife. Rajat and his team bring a deep understanding around retirement, technology and the needs of consumers,” says NerdWallet founder and CEO Tim Chen.

“As we establish ourselves as the go-to resource for making smart financial decisions, NerdWallet is investing heavily in technology and talent,” Chen says. “We’re doing that through building a world-class team of engineers and product managers, devoting resources to R&D, and, in this case, acquisitions.”

Bhaskar Ghosh, Vice President of Engineering, Operations and Security at NerdWallet, first spotted the potential synergies with aboutLife and was an enthusiastic champion of the acquisition. “All six members of the aboutLife team bring great culture and leverage to NerdWallet,” Ghosh says. “The talent and experience Rajat and his team bring around data-driven product engineering, infrastructure, financial modeling algorithms and a consumer-first design ethos are huge value-adds for the future of NerdWallet.

“From an IP and technology perspective, we were hugely impressed by the cleanliness and hygiene of the code, the architecture around data integration and serving, and the design of the internal product APIs in the aboutLife implementation — and felt they were all hugely positive for such an early-phase company,” Ghosh says.

Kongovi added, “We are very excited about the ambitious product road map NerdWallet has laid out. It demands that we push the technology we have already built to newer heights. We also can now start developing products that would have been years away if we were still on our own.”

Work on the acquisition was led by Christina LaMontagne, head of Corporate Development at NerdWallet. LaMontagne’s charter is exploring external growth opportunities that support the company’s consumer-first priorities in personal finance.

“NerdWallet is an incredibly ambitious company and we’re evaluating every opportunity to scale quickly and deliver compelling experiences for consumers,” LaMontagne says. “Our first acquisition is a huge win. I hope our strong growth trajectory and business model, the challenge of the financial problems we are trying to solve for consumers, and our mission-driven culture make us an attractive acquirer for other exceptional early-stage fintech companies.”

The aboutLife team joined NerdWallet in late May and will continue working together alongside other Nerds focusing on the retirement and investing space.