News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


VC-backed RIA CRM firm bursts onto the T3 scene looking to knock off Redtail, Salesforce etc.

Gotham Tech Labs seeks to blur the line between CRM and social media -- for a bargain

Author Kelly O'Mara February 12, 2014 at 7:25 AM
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John Rourke: I've never seen a more wide-open industry.




February 12, 2014 — 8:27 PM

The article states, “Last year, Jason Wenk’s Retirement Wealth Advisors Inc. grew from $140 million to $300 million in assets…”

The growth and unique business model intrigued me so I went to the SEC website and looked up the January 2014 ADV… This firm has no where near $300M in AUM.

Jason W

Jason W

February 12, 2014 — 8:38 PM

In fairness to Redtail – they’ve been a great resource for us the last few years. The issue with permissions though, is it’s simply too complicated. Same for Calendar sharing. We tried the help desk about 20 times and there just wasn’t a simple way to keep my calendar private. For that matter, many of our advisors didn’t want to see 25 other users with a checkbox next to their name for calendar functions.

Redtail has an awesome sweet spot in the industry. Before we started working with dozens of IARs and dozens of home office employees – it worked perfectly. Since they have a large and loyal user base, there wasn’t a lot of value in customizing features for just our firm. Hopefully they continue to get better, make the CRM easier and the UI better.

With Wealthbox, the little things that make team collaboration are both easy and powerful. Integrations are more than adequate for us even at launch, and will continue to get better. Being able to help shape something new is also very exciting as our voice is considered important.

I wish nothing but the best for Redtail, Salesforce, and others. Hope my interview didn’t make it sound otherwise. At this moment though, for us, Wealthbox is an awesome solution and I’m confident it will be really helpful for many others too.


Jason W

Jason W

February 12, 2014 — 8:40 PM

@ Kim – ADV hasn’t been updated for through end of 2013 yet. And our AUM is for two RIA firms under common ownership. I mentioned that when interviewed, but we can’t control what gets published.




February 12, 2014 — 8:46 PM

The design of wealthbox seems very similar to Facebook… Almost identical? Aren’t you running into any intellectual property issues for stealing their design?



February 12, 2014 — 8:59 PM

Kim —

Jason did say that he heads up two RIA firms and the total assets are for those firms combined and that the growth all happened last year, so it’s not in the updated ADV yet, so I updated the story to make that more clear. We did write about Jason’s growth before here: http://www.riabiz.com/a/25263001/how-a-33-year-old-advisor-ditched-the-midwest-for-california-and-used-mad-blogging-and-seo-skills-to-hijack-annuity-bound-web-traffic-to-propel-giant-growth

Hope that helps

Jason W

Jason W

February 12, 2014 — 9:07 PM

Thanks Kelly!! Transparency is always good ;)




February 12, 2014 — 9:34 PM

@ James… I thought the same thing. It looks extremely familiar. It’s actually almost identical to another program called Podio that’s owned by tech-giant Citrix. I’m sure they won’t care if it’s knocked off either. The interfaces mirror each other.

Jason W

Jason W

February 13, 2014 — 12:35 AM

Activity streams are in most web apps you see these days. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Basecamp, Podio, Chatter, etc. The reason is largely because it works. People understand the UI. It’s one of the many cool things I like about Wealthbox. If you or your staff uses any of those many applications – they basically will be able to use Wealtbox from jump street. If a technology is unusual to a user it’s really hard to adapt and get value from it.

I’ll let Dan and the Wealthbox team tackle the whole intellectual property convo ;)


Gotham Tech Labs

Gotham Tech Labs

February 13, 2014 — 1:55 AM

@ RIABiz & Kelly O’Mara: Thank you for the coverage. It’s much appreciated.

@ James & Jim: My team and I were and continue to be pioneers in “activity stream” web-based CRM software. My last company’s web-based app debuted at the “Real-Time Stream Crunchup” hosted by TechCruch, in July of 2009. The very name of the event illustrated the emergence of “activity streams” in business productivity software and our presentation was back-to-back against Salesforce, who didn’t show an activity stream at all at this event, but we did show one in our social CRM app debut onstage. It wasn’t until nine months later that Salesforce launched their activity stream in the form of “Chatter.” (This isn’t to suggest they copied us; it’s merely that we were ahead of them in applying social collaboration to CRM.) Activity streams are everywhere now, in consumer and business software, such as LinkedIn, Yammer, Twitter, Jive, Google+, etc. Indeed, “activity stream” has its own Wikipedia entry. This leads to my answer to your question related to Facebook’s design: We certainly didn’t “steal” their design in my latest venture as we simply created and applied our own plans and designs around CRM activity stream for financial advisors; I’m aware of no claims they have for activity streams, especially in business productivity software. And no one owns Lucida Grande, the typeface. To be sure, we’ve tried to style Wealthbox around the hyper-simple, familiar tools that we as consumers are using each day (like LinkedIn and its stream, for instance) and to this end we allow Wealthbox customers to customize their Wealthbox account with a color scheme, of blue (what you’ve seen), light blue, black, or green. (If you saw these 3 other colors applied, it’s vastly different looking, by the way.) Lastly, I dare say that at a glance that “activity streams” in general can obviously make you think of familiar Facebook or LinkedIn, but once you start using Wealthbox, with all its unique icons for various CRM-centric activities that cascade in the stream (new contacts, tasks, event, opportunities, etc.) and attendant workflows, you’ll see and feel a completely different visual vibe beyond the glance. With respect to Podio, I haven’t looked at them since my last venture that was sold 3 years ago, after which they were acquired by Citrix (who I know quite well), who also saw that activity streams are great for business collaboration. ...Hope this helps. Respectfully, John Rourke

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