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 In Startup Smart

US fintech giant Acorns has attracted more than 100,000 users in Australia after launching locally in February.

After just three weeks the micro-investing platform had already racked up 50,000 users, and Acorns Australia managing director George Lucas says this continual growth as been in part thanks to interest from young Australians.

“It’s obviously resonating with millenials in ways that we didn’t expect,” Lucas tells StartupSmart.

“We just see our ratings going up.”

Acorns achieved global fame after actor-turned-tech investor Ashton Kutcher bought a significant stake in Acorns Grow. The Acorns app was then brought to Australia through a joint venture with Instreet Investment Limitd.

According to Acorns Australia, more than 95% of users are seeing a positive return on investment and personal financial gains before the monthly maintenance fee.

These fees are set at $1.25 per month for balances under $5000 or 0.275% a year for accounts over this.

“98.5% of users are engaged with the app on a weekly basis and the average [account] balance is about $500,” Lucas says.

“Everyone has a different return portfolio.”

The uptake of the app is expected to continue, and Lucas says he is hoping to hit 300,000 users by June next year.

“We still continue to listen to the consumers for new features, we’re going to bring out BPAY so they can add voluntary contributions to their superfund,” he says.

His best advice to buddying fintech startups is to make a hefty investment in jumping the various regulatory hurdles.

“For a fintech startup, you have to budget a lot more for regulatory compliance,” he says.

“And you really have to think about spending the same amount on tech development on it.”

To ensure the Acorns app continues to create a positive user experience, Lucas says his team has built in a robust tech infrastructure to quickly fix bugs, identify crashes and respond effectively when these happen to minimise impact on customers.

“We have lots of software constantly running,” he says.

“We’re finding the one in 100,000 bugs now rather than the one in 1000.”

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