Propel Venture Partners, the venture capital firm backed by BBVA, led a $7 million investment round in Guideline, a fintech startup focused on 401(k)s.
The San Francisco-based venture fund was joined by existing Guideline backers NEA and Lerer Hippeau Ventures in the round, the startup said in a press release on Tuesday.
Guideline aims to dramatically reduce fees for retirement investing by offering a "100% automatically managed 401(k)" and by handling plan administration, payroll automation, payroll integration, recordkeeping, investment management and compliance as part of its technology stack.
"Participants in small business 401(k) plans are paying exorbitant fees on their assets, ranging between 0.68% and 2.66%," said Ryan Gilbert, partner at Propel Venture Partners. "Guideline is changing the 'high-fee low-growth' game by focusing on 401(k) growth, without collecting fees based on the size of a participant's retirement portfolio."
The additional funding will allow the startup to continue to scale up its platform and its partnerships, Guideline said in the release.
Guideline's chief executive and founder is Kevin Busque, who is also the cofounder of digital marketplace TaskRabbit. His frustration with the fee structures of 401(k) plans while researching them for that sharing-economy startup inspired him to start Guideline, he said in a recent blog post.
In February, Spanish banking giant BBVA announced that it was taking its $100 million BBVA Ventures unit, adding $150 million to the pot and spinning it out into an independent firm. The move was expected to allow the group to move quicker on deals and invest in smaller companies.
Guideline is Propel's first lead investment since it BBVA spun it out, but it invested in the seed rounds of: Drive Motors, software that allows customers to buy cars online and collect in person; Hippo, a home insurance company; and Civic, a provider of online identity protection.