February was quite the month for a couple of MBA graduates — two companies that were created when their founders were still in business schools have raised notable amounts of funding, with one of them quadrupling its operating budget.
Jonathan Stein launched Betterment, which provides fully automated investment management to clients, in 2010 while completing his MBA studies at Columbia Business School. In February, Stein announced the addition of $60M in funding, which brought the company’s total to $105M. Betterment manages nearly $1.5B in investments for approximately 70,000 clients.
HourlyNerd, which began as a class project by Harvard Business School students in 2013, provides companies with the possibility of hiring MBA students and graduates as part-time business consultants. The firm originally raised $4M in Series A investments. In February, HourlyNerd announced that it received $7.8M in Series B investments after a funding round led by Highland Capital Partners, with support from Greylock Partners, the Kraft Group, Maria Thomas (the former CEO of Etsy), and angel investor Semil Shah, among others.
Both companies believe that the time for their innovations has come. “We are increasingly seeing consulting firms both buying and selling projects on our site, as their demand and capacity fluctuate,” remarked HourlyNerd co-CEO and co-founder Rob Biederman, adding, “HourlyNerd is becoming the global spot market for business talent.” Jonathan Stein of Betterment expressed similar views about his venture: “Seven years ago, virtually everyone I told about Betterment advised me to try something less ambitious. Today, we are the leader in a category.”