Friday, 24 May 2019

Kindur CEO on helping boomers navigate retirement – Crain’s New York Business

After helping her father grapple with the complexities of retirement planning, Rhian Horgan left her 17-year career at JPMorgan in 2016 to start Kindur, a retirement tech company. She raised $10 million in seed funding last year before even launching the product, which debuted last month.

What prompted you to start Kindur?

I had been having a conversation with my father about retirement. He’s 69, part of the baby-boomer generation that delayed retirement because of the 2008 financial crisis. He had eight different retirement accounts—taxable accounts, life-insurance policies, bank accounts. That’s actually really common. The retirement industry is focused on helping you get to retirement, rather than this phase that my dad and mom were in: decumulation, figuring out how much they can spend.

How does it work?

In order to navigate modern retirement today, you have to visit the Social Security office,, an insurance agent, a financial planner. Each of those is going to prescribe a medicine. Kindur’s mission is, How do we help you make these decisions holistically? We convert your assets into a regular paycheck. We’ve partnered with an insurance company, American Equity, to build an ETF version of an annuity, similar to a pension, but we’ve simplified it and taken the broker out of the equation.

What makes Kindur different?

The holistic approach and our focus on boomers. Most people think boomers aren’t familiar with technology. But half of our traffic is on mobile. This demographic grew up learning how to use manuals, which is very different from swipe left, swipe right. Our users don’t mind a lot of text. But they are afraid of making mistakes. You can design to make them feel comfortable.

What’s your long-term vision?

For Kindur to be the platform that navigates all the decisions you make in retirement. We’re starting with the paycheck but looking at where we can go deeper in health care, long-term care, home equity. A lot of people’s equity is tied up in their home, so different solutions will be needed to monetize those goals.

Did you learn anything surprising about retirement?

That couples spend an average of $280,000 in retirement on health care. And nursing homes are $100,000 a year.

What’s your revenue model?

We don’t charge commissions. We charge an assets-under-management fee of 0.5%.

What’s your hiring strategy?

Diversity is our best chance at doing things differently. My CTO is a 20-year tech industry veteran. My general counsel was former chief of staff to Citi’s general counsel. Our leadership team is half female. We’re very diverse from a gender, ethnicity and sexual-orientation standpoint.

Do you have baby boomers on your team?

They’re coming soon. We do have a lot of baby boomers advising me.

What was the biggest challenge in raising capital?

Convincing people that our demographic—people in their 60s and 70s—actually engages with tech online. Most of our investors never backed a company targeting that demographic.

Are we facing a retirement crisis?

Yes. The risks to the shift from pensions to 401(k)s are only starting to become known. I don’t think we realize how much risk we have pushed onto the individual. 


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