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Published on July 30th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Acorns CEO Noah Kerner On Branding, Work Ethic, Prior Work As A DJ & The Future Of Acorns

Launched in 2014, Acorns aims to make investing accessible to everyone. Unlike many wealth-oriented websites, Acorns is a uniting brand, bringing together people from all walks of life with the simple belief that anyone can grow wealth. Unsurprisingly Acorns has had a magnetic presence for top investors and advisors alike, including Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Durant, PayPal and Rakuten.

Noah Kerner got involved with Acorns two months after its launch as an adviser, investor, board director and then CEO. Born in New York City’s East Village, Kerner’s background is colorful, to say the least. He is a three-time entrepreneur, the co-author of Chasing Cool — with the former CEO of Barneys — and a former DJ for global icon Jennifer Lopez… all of which done before the age of 30.

Kerner built the leading millennial creative agency, Noise. Before being acquired by Engine, Noise developed hundreds of products and marketing campaigns for this generation including Facebook’s first application, the first credit card to reward responsibility rather than spending for Chase, and Vice’s music site Noisey. Kerner was featured as a “Top 30 Under 30” in Billboard Magazine, a Fast Company “Innovation Agent,” and one of AdWeek’s “Top 20 Under 40,” to name a few accolades.

I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Noah Kerner about the past, present and future of Acorns and what else he is more currently working on. More on Acorns can be found online at www.acorns.com.

Before finding success with Acorns as its CEO, you were a DJ. When did you know that it was time to move out of music as your full-time calling?

Noah Kerner: I started DJing when I was 14 and then started my first company at 21. These two lives happened in parallel for a while into my early twenties, so it wasn’t really linear. But I will say that the experience DJ’ing in front of lots of different crowds and with different artists led to a pretty keen understanding of what moves people — how to capture their attention, keep them engaged, lose them, bring them back, etc. In my eyes, everything comes back to understanding what moves people so the more time spent doing this in whatever format the stronger you’ll be as a leader, entrepreneur, marketer, or product developer.

How would you describe Acorns to someone not yet familiar?

Noah Kerner: Acorns makes it effortless to save and invest your spare change. I encourage everyone to start saving and investing for the future now. It’s never too early or too late.

Is there a professional accomplishment you’ve had with Acorns that you are most proud of?

Noah Kerner: Our entire team believes in our mission — “with benevolence and courage, we look after the financial best interests of the up-and-coming.” It’s one of the main reasons people come and stay. So I take a lot of pride in building a culture where people feel fulfilled by the work.

What is coming up for Acorns in the coming months?

Noah Kerner: We have recently launched Acorns Spend, which is the first checking account with a debit card that saves and invests for you. In the coming months, we’re completing all of the core features of Acorns Spend so that we continue helping Americans save and invest as much as possible.

You’ve simultaneously had a bunch of different jobs, and continue to work on a lot of things while still working at the CEO of Acorns. How do you usually go about keeping so organized so everything gets done? Are you big on calendars and to-do list?

Noah Kerner: I spend almost all of my time on Acorns. But I’m the co-founder of Say, where I sit on the board. We aim to help people exercise their shareholder rights. And I’m on the board of VH1 Save The Music, which is a great organization putting music programs in schools across the country. I’m a big believer in the power of music and getting involved at a young age.

As for organization, I compartmentalize. If you’re dealing with a lot, you’ve got to be laser-focused on what’s in front of you, make fast decisions, and jump right into what’s next without missing a beat.

When not busy with work, where does your free time usually go?

Noah Kerner: I love to work and so I work a lot!

As a music-friendly publication, I feel compelled to ask: What was the last concert you attended for fun?

Noah Kerner: The GRAMMYS — not to sound like a dick…

Finally, Noah, any last words for the kids?

Noah Kerner: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” – Harold Whitman


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."


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