2018 is underway, but it’s still not too late to commit to some New Year’s resolutions. If you’re looking to make improvements to your finances this year, then perhaps some of the solutions offered by innovative startups in the Rakuten Capital portfolio are a good place to start. From saving and investing to lessening your debt burden, these services could help you build better financial habits in the year ahead.

Resolution #1: Start investing

Everyone wants to grow their resources, but investing can be a daunting exercise.

Tokyo-based startup Folio aims to simplify the process and make investing more accessible. Users can either choose to invest based on themes, which range from big themes like “empowering women” to very specific fields like “drones” or the “2020 Tokyo Olympics,” or leave all the decisions up to the service’s robo-adviser technology. Both options leverage AI to make investments that are diversified across a range of stocks.

Everything is presented in an informative and easy-to-use interface. The company’s vision is to allow users to become more financially literate while enjoying the act of investing, rather than just providing an investment-automation service.

Resolution #2: Find more money to invest 

While Folio may help with the actual task of investing, sometimes finding the money to invest is the bigger challenge. Mobile savings and investment app Acorns is a US-based startup founded on the principle that even something as small as an acorn has the potential to become a giant tree. Acorns was built to be mobile-first and to make the investing process as simple as possible. It has been lauded for getting millennials interested in investing.

Users connect their credit and debit cards to their Acorns account and are encouraged to invest small amounts each time they make a purchase. Acorns can, for example, round each transaction up to the nearest dollar and invest the difference. Over the course of one day a user buying a cup of coffee for $1.50, a book for $8.95 and a sandwich for $3.15 will find they have also invested a total of $1.40. It’s a simple approach, but over time it can make a big difference.

Resolution #3: Make personal borrowing work for you

Founded by former Google executives, Upstart is an online lending marketplace targeted at millennials. This peer-to-peer lending service uses artificial intelligence to determine the creditworthiness of a potential borrower based on non-traditional factors, such as academic credentials, work experience and income.

Upstart launched as a service aiming to provide young adults without long credit histories with a way to lessen their debt burdens or perhaps kick off new projects. These could include starting a new business, continuing education or gaining new skills.

By leveraging non-traditional creditworthiness factors, Upstart can offer qualified users better annual percentage rates than banks or credits card companies. Upstart also offers investors interested in the other side of personal lending the opportunity to invest in this innovative peer-to-peer service.

Resolution #4: Get your small business running smoothly

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is managing cash flow, which at times can be highly inconsistent, especially in the early days. Cash flow problems for otherwise healthy businesses can hinder the ability to grow – and securing access to additional capital can be burdensome to a resource-strapped small business.

Israeli based startup BlueVine aims to ease these burdens by providing small businesses with access to a line of favorable business credit and cloud-based invoice factoring products for when customers don’t pay promptly. Both types of financing aim to address short-term needs to let business owners focus on what’s most important: growing their business.

 

Whatever your financial goals for 2018 may be, the services offered by these startups in the Rakuten Capital portfolio might be just what you are looking for.


About Rakuten Capital

Rakuten Capital invests in innovative startups around the world, including the companies mentioned above. For more information on its portfolio, visit https://capital.rakuten.com