Meet Izabel & Eliza Arnold, CoFounders of Arnie

FcF: Tell us about yourself?

- Above: Izabel Arnold (Left) , Eliza Arnold (Right) -


Izabel & Eliza: 

The last names are no coincidence...we’re sisters! Although we bring very different academic and professional backgrounds to Arnie, we share a passion for using ethically-minded investing to make a positive impact. 


Izabel’s eyes were first opened to the world of sustainable and impact investing while servicing high net worth and endowment & foundation clients as an investment manager at Sepio Capital. She managed over $1.5 billion in client assets and spent much of her time mission-aligning portfolios. The impact was significant, but it left her thinking about the majority of Americans who couldn’t afford the minimums and fees to work with an advisor like her. She believes everyone should have access to wealth management that allows them to speak with their money and align their investments with their values. 


Before entering the world of sustainable finance, Eliza lived in blissful ignorance as a creative director and writer, creating campaigns for some of the biggest companies in the world. Her work won her awards from Cannes Lions, the Shortys, and Brandweek. Then while working on a social impact campaign she found out her investments were supporting companies she was opposed to, and well, here we are. 


FcF: What is Arnie?

Izabel & Eliza: 

Arnie is an automated portfolio builder for the ethical investor, serving the 95% of American households who aren’t wealthy enough to access a personal financial advisor. By blending the ease of use and affordability of a robo-advisor with the customization of a personal advisor, we democratize access to sustainable and impact investing.


We give people the ability to hold companies accountable for their impact – using the power of shareholding to shift the focus to all stakeholders. Arnie builds each user a customized individual portfolio that aligns their investments with their sustainability and impact values, whether that’s reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting board diversity, or protecting customer privacy. Users’ money is invested more heavily into companies making a positive impact and solving the global problems they care about, and divested from companies causing harm. Our algorithm-driven portfolio construction and automated portfolio management keeps account minimums and fees low so that individuals at all income levels can use their capital to make positive change, while also bettering their own financial future.

- Above: Screens of Arnie -


FcF: How did you come up with  Arnie ?

Izabel & Eliza: 

Eliza was looking to invest her money responsibly after doing an audit of her 401k and realizing she was invested in companies with practices she disagreed with. And Izabel’s job as investment advisor was to do this exact thing for her clients. It seemed like an easy solve, but we quickly realized none of the solutions Izabel could offer applied to Eliza. 

Izabel spent much of her time sustainably aligning the portfolios of very wealthy clients- individuals with net worths above $50 million and large foundations. These clients paid hefty fees and met high minimums to access customized sustainable investing. But for people like Eliza who haven’t made their millions...yet ;), this isn’t a viable solution. As a creative director and writer, Eliza noticed all of her clients were coming back with the same ask and consumer research: purpose is what consumers are reacting to.

Izabel’s clients were asking for mission-aligned portfolios, and Eliza’s clients were asking for purpose-driven campaigns — it’s clear consumers want their money to align with their values, but unless you’re wildly wealthy, there’s no good option. And Izabel realized that the right investing technologies (fractional share trading, index optimization, large sustainability data sets...) finally existed to make this possible. So Arnie was born. 


FcF: What were the first 3 steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?

Izabel & Eliza: 

First, we scanned the competitive landscape. We needed to answer the question of what platforms already existed, to clarify how we would be differentiated. What solutions are out there for someone who wants to invest sustainably? What do traditional robo-advisors offer? What do concentrated equity impact portfolios offer? What are they lacking? After finding the clear gap in the market, we needed to prove demand. We dug into countless research studies and surveys on the prevalence of sustainable investing and what types of individuals or entities were engaging in it. We spoke to our potential user base, asking friends, family, and members of various online communities we’re a part of what they would want to see in a holistic sustainable and impact investing wealth management solution. After determining that there was indeed demand for a product that didn’t yet exist, we explored whether one could be built and what it would cost. For Arnie to work out, the platform would need a profitable business model. We determined the various third party integrations our product needed (e.g. custodian and clearing firm, optimization software, sustainability data feeds) and contacted their sales teams to get an idea of pricing. It quickly became clear that the technological innovations existed to make Arnie possible, and that we could do it at scalably and with compelling unit economics. 


FcF: What is something you wish you knew before starting Arnie?   

Izabel & Eliza: 

Things take longer than you expect, and you can’t do everything at once. At the beginning, we tried to tackle fundraising, product development, getting user feedback, setting things up operationally...the list goes on. All at the exact same time, with only two people to do it. Eventually we realized that we’re more productive and effective when we prioritize and go all-in on one goal at a time. 


FcF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in a Co-Founder? 

Izabel & Eliza:

We’ve known each other since the day Izabel was born...literally. We’re sisters. We always knew we wanted to start a venture together, and finally found something we were both passionate about in Arnie. Though I suppose this could be considered our second entrepreneurial relationship, if you count the bath and beauty product line we created as kids. We netted a few hundred bucks each time we sold our products at crafts fairs, a pretty good profit for a 9 and 11 year old. 

 

FcF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?

Izabel & Eliza:

Be flexible and open to change! We’ve made countless modifications to our initial product vision, shifted priorities constantly, and gone down paths we never predicted. Building a company from scratch doesn’t come with a manual, and that’s what makes it exciting. On the flip side of this, although it’s important to embrace changes, be sure to take everyone’s advice as just that: advice. At the beginning of our journey we lacked the confidence to reject advice from those more knowledgeable and accomplished than us, even when that advice went against our beliefs or made us hesitant. Take in as much information as you can, and talk to anyone and everyone, but remember that each person comes with their own biases.  


FcF: How can the Female CoFounder community help you?  

Izabel & Eliza:

While our final portfolio building platform is still pre-launch, we just released a free tool that lets you explore how sustainable your current investments are! If you’re invested in an ETF or a mutual fund, chances are you own companies that have practices you disagree with. And unfortunately, you have no control over this. Using our tool, you simply enter your fund name or ticker and discover if you own companies that are high fossil fuel emitters, weapons manufacturers, lack board diversity, etc. I would be so appreciative if you could use our check-your-fund tool and share it among any communities you’re a part of! We want to spread the word about Arnie and educate people that you CAN be mindful about what your investments are supporting.  


FcF: How can people contact you?

Izabel & Eliza: 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, suggestions, or anything else! We love hearing from interested users. And if you’d like to participate in our beta testing program, just let us know :)

Check-your-fund tool: https://www.arnie-checkyourfund.com 

Email: izabel@arnieimpact.com

Instagram: @arnie.impact

Twitter: @arnieimpact

You Can also DM @Izabel Arnold in our Slack Channel!

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