At Wealthfront, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of the traditional industry to deliver on our mission – everyone deserves sophisticated financial advice. We quickly learned that in order to keep delivering on this belief, we needed more than an audacious mission — we need to build an exceptional company. To achieve that goal, we need to attract deeply experienced talent in three major areas: investment research, software development and management. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made thus far. We’ve been fortunate to attract financial luminaries like Burt Malkiel and Charley Ellis to our investment team. Our software team includes some of the best from companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn. Our management team includes six professionals who helped build billion-dollar revenue companies that forever changed their industries.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce yet another phenomenal executive, Kate Aronowitz, has joined our management team as Vice President of Design.
eBay. LinkedIn. Facebook. Wealthfront.
Kate is one of the rare talents in Silicon Valley to have held leadership roles at not one, but three multi-billion dollar giants of consumer software. Most people know her for her incredible contributions at Facebook, but Kate actually began her technology career at eBay, where she spent six years helping to bridge the gap between brand marketing and creative design. In 2007, Kate joined LinkedIn as its first Director of Design, and helped build the user experience team that now defines the professional networking category.
At Facebook, Kate led some of the biggest design initiatives for over six years as the service grew from purely web-based service with 145 million users to a global multi-platform service that spanned over 1.2 billion monthly active users. As a member of the M-Team, she helped oversee both company direction and strategy. Leading a design team of almost 200, Kate helped redefine the role of design at Facebook, and as a result, the way billions perceive social networking to this day.
There are few design executives in the world with Kate’s experience and success, which is why I am ecstatic to have her help building Wealthfront and bring the language of design to financial services.
Design is the language of emotion
It has been 18 years since I studied Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) under Terry Winograd at Stanford, and in that time there has been a sea change in the role of design and design-based thinking at technology companies. At the best companies, design is now considered to be at the core of true customer-centric thinking. Design has to matter at the CEO-level.
The evidence from behavioral finance is now overwhelming that many of the most costly mistakes that individual investors make are emotional. I believe that design is the language of emotion. Many of the design principles that have helped connect billions can be applied to help solve some of the financial problems that have plagued individual investors.
Great product design cannot just be tacked on. It has to permeate the entire culture of a company, and that starts with the right leadership. Kate will be joining our executive team to ensure that design is incorporated into every decision we make.
A Different Type of Service
Our clients believe we can build a different kind of service, a different kind of culture and a different kind of company. Investors are sick of business as usual.
But to build a different type of company, you need to have different type of leadership. This will be the third time I’ve had the good fortune to work with Kate, and I could not be more delighted. I know she will offer a fresh vision for the role of design in financial service and ensure that we continue building a service that delights our clients.
Kate will be joining a team of successful executives that includes Ali Rosenthal, Elliot Shmukler, Avery Moon, Rick Foreman and Andy Johns; leaders who helped build some of the best known technology companies in Silicon Valley including Cypress Semiconductor, Facebook and LinkedIn. These companies succeeded by building products and services their customers love, and we seek to do the same here at Wealthfront.
We’re just getting started. Join us on the journey.