BlackRock acquires minority stake in SMB 401(k) provider Human Interest

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Investment giant BlackRock announced Friday it is taking a minority stake in venture-backed fintech startup Human Interest.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Human Interest’s digital retirement benefits platform allows users “to launch a retirement plan in minutes and put it on autopilot,” according to the company. It also touts that it has eliminated all 401(k) transaction fees. The startup told TechCrunch previously that it works with “every kind of SMB” — from tech startups to law offices, to dentists to dog walkers, to manufacturing firms, to social justice nonprofits.

The San Francisco–based company has raised a total of $336.7 million in funding since it was founded by Paul Sawaya and Roger Lee in 2015. The Rise Fund, TPG’s global impact investing platform, led a $200 million round for Human Interest in August 2021 that propelled it to unicorn status. Other backers include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Crosslink Capital, NewView Capital, Glynn Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Wing Venture Capital, Uncork Capital, Slow Capital and Susa Ventures, among others. Since the initial closing of that round, Human Interest said in a blog post that it has seen has over 400% growth in the number of customers and revenue. At the time of that raise, execs told TechCrunch that the company was targeting a traditional IPO sometime in 2023, hoping to have “$200 million+ in run-rate revenue before going public.” In August of 2021, it was at “tens of millions of run-rate revenue, and adding millions of new revenue each month, according to execs.

“BlackRock has an amazing team focused on providing high-quality retirement saving and investment options. We are excited to work with BlackRock to find ways to bring retirement within reach of millions of additional workers in the coming years,” said Jeff Schneble, CEO of Human Interest, in a written statement.

“We look forward to helping Human Interest close the access gap,” said Anne Ackerley, head of BlackRock’s Retirement Group, in a statement.

Human Interest co-founder Lee moved on years ago, recently founding another startup, Comprehensive.io and launching layoff tracker Layoffs.FYI soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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