News & Politics

DC-Based HelloWallet Acquired for $52.5 Million

Financial planning company Morningstar is buying the local start-up.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

DC-based finance software publisher HelloWallet is being purchased by Chicago-based investment firm Morningstar for $52.5 million, the two companies announced Thursday.

HelloWallet, founded in 2009 by ex-Brookings Institution scholar Matt Fellowes, provides software to employers with the goal of making financial planning tools more easily available to low- and middle-income workers. In a press release, Morningstar, which manages more than 1 million retirement savings accounts, says it plans to fold HelloWallet’s products into its services to create a “holistic retirement savings and advice” practice.

Morningstar was already invested in HelloWallet, purchasing a $6.75 million stake in the DC company in 2012. That investment is now valued at more than $13 million, and Morningstar will pay off the balance of HelloWallet’s value in its acquisition.

Fellowes and HelloWallet’s 50 employees are sticking in their Dupont Circle office with plans to expand after the merger is complete.

As far as mergers go, this one between a traditional financial advisory firm and a web-based upstart is relatively small, but it’s always good for DC’s tech scene when the news isn’t about LivingSocial’s extended death spiral.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.