Andrei Cherny

Andrei Chernyage 39

Co-Founder and CEO, Aspiration

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Whoever thought of an online automated investment platform that lets clients choose what to pay in fees?

Andrei Cherny did. He is founder and chief executive of Aspiration, and he bases his company’s business model on the goal of bringing financial products to the middle class.

Aspiration, which was started in November 2014, was built on the adage: “Pay what is fair.”

“I really care deeply about economic opportunity and about helping to widen the circle of those who have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Mr. Cherny said.

Obviously, clients can choose to pay no management fee. But Mr. Cherny said having such an open model engenders a trusting relationship between clients and the company.

“We trust if we do a good job for them, they’ll treat us fairly,” he said.

Regardless what clients pay, the company always gives back. Mr. Cherny said 10% of Aspiration’s revenue goes to charities offering micro-loans to people in the United States living in poverty.

Mr. Cherny has played many roles in the financial industry. He is a former business consultant, financial fraud prosecutor and White House aide in the Clinton administration. Creating Aspiration gave him the chance to democratize investing for the middle class and millennials, he said.

“We believe you can both do well and good in the world,” Mr. Cherny said.

— Alessandra Malito

Fast Facts

  • First job was senior speechwriter in the Clinton-Gore White House
  • Guilty pleasure is watching really old videos from CSPAN’s archives
  • Wanted to be an astronomer growing up
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