Alexa von Tobel

Northwestern Mutual Buys Finance Startup LEARNVEST For $250M

FAST COMPANY: Alexa Von Tobel, whose startup LearnVest was featured on our list of the world’s Most Innovative Companies, has sold her company to Northwestern Mutual for $250 million, according to Fortune. Not bad for a personal-finance startup.

Von Tobel, a business-school dropout, launched the New York-based company in 2009, and originally targeted it toward women to help them better understand and manage their finances. The site eventually expanded beyond those early ambitions and eventually grew its user base to around 1.5 million visits per month, offering a personalized and education-focused alternative to competitors in the space such as Mint.

LearnVest offers some free applications, but also charges for premium services. For example, users can pay to consult with one of the company’s on-staff financial planners to get a fuller picture of their financial outlook and how to more smartly budget their money.

With this week’s reported acquisition, Northwestern Mutual gets a fresh sheen of branding, which will likely help the 158-year-old financial firm appeal to younger generations.

[Photo: Alexa Von Tobel at “Money of the Future 2014” hosted by Life.SREDA VC]