Michael Ma Departs Vanguard, Joins Startup Betterment

Exec Takes Role as Chief Growth Officer for Investing Platform

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Michael Ma
Michael Ma

Earlier this month, Michael Ma joined Betterment, a mission-orientated online investing platform designed to help users reach personal goals, as the startup's chief growth officer.

In this role, Mr. Ma, who previously ran retail advertising and prospect marketing at Vanguard Group, a nonprofit, customer-owned investment company, will focus on several areas of development, including customer acquisition, user experience, messaging and increasing users' overall investment size.

Mr. Ma's first task is to take a deeper look at content and community. "It's a grassroots-type of effort," he said. "It's going to succeed because of the passionate user base and the content they create around [the service]."

According to Mr. Ma, his move is a natural transition. "I'm just inspired by what they do. We're out to democratize advice through technology -- it has echoes of what Vanguard does, out to democratize investment products," he explained. "The missions are similar, and I'm a completely mission-driven person and it speaks to my passions, not just as a marketer, but as a person."

"We were talking about Betterment at one point and the overall messaging and how to approach it," said Betterment CEO Jon Stein. "Mike said, 'You don't want to be just better, you want to be the Chobani to everyone else's Dannon,' and he's got that attitude," Mr. Stein said.

Mr. Ma is joined by another new hire, Daniel Egan, formerly of Barclays, who will serve as Betterment's director-behavioral finance and investing.

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