Interface: Wealth Visor in Seattle
What: Wealth Visor, Seattle Who: Chip Treverton, 37, founder and CEO Mission: To become the most respected destination to gain information...
What: Wealth Visor, Seattle
Who: Chip Treverton, 37, founder and CEO
Mission: To become the most respected destination to gain information about and connect with financial professionals.
Financials: The company gains revenue from advertising and subscription fees, and expects to become profitable in early 2012.
Cash network: The company has assembled data on 350,000 financial advisers nationwide, mostly using public sources and company records. Once in the database, advisers are invited to contribute information, and comments from former clients about the adviser are welcomed. "This model, where people comment about services, has worked well in other areas, but there was nothing like this in the financial-service industry where a lot of people are looking for advice," Treverton said.
Throw a rope: The need for advice is especially true since the financial meltdown. "There was a time where people thought they could just invest in the stock market and make money," Treverton said. "But in the last couple of years even the smart people aren't so smart anymore. They don't know how to manage their money and need help."
Money talk: The company allows anonymous comments but vets them to make sure they are not obscene or personal, and removes those deemed inappropriate. Comments from those who are not former clients are also removed. It is left up to the adviser in question to deal with the negative comments left standing by persuading current clients to leave positive feedback. "We encourage advisers to put widgets on their websites that lead to us, so their clients can comment."
Close to home: The online universe encourages business across geographical boundaries, but Treverton said most people seek financial advice from someone close to their backyard. "The majority of people want to have someone they can meet with in person," he said.
— Charles Bermant
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