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Pefin uses proprietary technology to help users navigate the important decisions that impact their long-term financial well-being — from buying a house to starting a new job to saving for a child and retirement. It also provides personalized, actionable investment strategies that are tied to specific financial plans.
Below is our recent interview with Catherine Flax, CEO at Pefin:
Q: Catherine, tell us something more about Pefin’s patent-pending AI platform?
A: Pefin’s patent-pending AI platform provides the same level of intelligent guidance as a human advisor at 1/20th of the cost. Pefin analyzes between 2-5 million data points per user, providing actionable, real time advice that is completely tailored to their changing lives. Most plans you will get today are great for the moment, but are ultimately static. And life is far from static. We’ve designed a system that understands and can respond to all of life’s ups and downs; one that adapts and evolves with the realities of the market; and one that learns from you. More importantly though, we’re making this level of financial guidance easy and affordable. Our users pay only $10 per month.
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Q: Could you tell us something more about the announcement of your CIO and a capital raise?
A: Viju Joseph joined Pefin as President and CIO in January of this year. His distinguished career in financial services spans two decades which included Chief Risk Officer at Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisors, where he was responsible for risk, portfolio construction, and asset allocation for a $1.5B portfolio. Prior to Weiss, Viju was Chief Risk Officer at Eton Park Capital Management, a $14B Hedge Fund during his tenure. Before that, Viju was an Executive Director and Co-Head of Global Market Risk in the Institutional Equity Division of Morgan Stanley where he was responsible for risk, treasury and capital management for the firm’s $500B Equity Division balance sheet. He also a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland System Foundation, advising the $1.1 B endowment in its asset allocation and portfolio construction.
Viju is also an initial investor in Pefin and has been an advisor to the company for several years. Viju’s role at Pefin will encompass leading business strategy, scaling operations and expanding Pefin’s product offering.
Pefin, up until this point, has been privately funded. The Pefin management team is now presenting accredited investors the opportunity to participate in a capital raise targeted at a minimum of $15mm. This will be focused on both financial and strategic investors including venture capital, financial services firms, asset managers and insurance companies. This opportunity is expected to close in Q1 2018.
Q: Your SXSW nomination was recently announced; could you tell us something more?
A: Pefin is honored and thrilled to be a finalist at SXSW! It is very fitting that the nomination is in the “New Economy” category, because Pefin’s entire reason for being is to democratize financial advice for the world- and we are turning the paradigm of financial planning on its head! Providing tailored, fiduciary, affordable financial planning and advice safely, securely and 24/7 – and without trying to sell products and services that you don’t need – is something that has never before been available. Leveraging AI, Pefin is able to analyze millions of data points pertaining to each users financial life, and provides them with insights on how to make the goals they have in life achievable. We are excited to share what Pefin can do with SXSW- and the world!
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Q: What are your plans for next four months?
A: In the next 4 months Pefin will – complete our capital raise, bring Pefin to even more users – direct to consumer, but also through partnerships with institutions and employers who care about financial wellness, and make some really exciting enhancements to the platform bringing even more insights to our users.
Q: What kinds of feedback are you getting from users?
A: We love our users! They give us terrific feedback – both about how much they love being able to get practical and actionable advice for today and for their future on topics that are really challenging- like how best to get out from under student loan debt, how to buy the house they always wanted, how to put kids through college – and so much more! We love seeing real changes in people’s lives from using the Pefin platform! We also get really great suggestions from our users- and we take them all on board and are building some great new features as a result of user feedback!