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Rating:Invesmart Co-Founder Puts Up New Venture Not Rated 3.2 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Invesmart Co-Founder Puts Up New Venture

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Invesmart co-founder Christian Echavarria left the Pittsburgh-based plan administrator last July, a few weeks after Invesmart's sale to Stancorp Financial Group closed, and now he's reemerged on the scene. Echavarria earlier this year formed feelsmartabout, which seeks to educate plan participants through the use of digital videos. In an interview with The 401kWire, Echavarria said feelsmartabout's first product will come out next month.

Christian Echavarria
Founder and CEO

Echavarria poses with "Doc," the Einstein-like figure who co-stars in the feelsmartabout ads.
"I feel it's very important to solve what I call the crisis of 401(k) education," Echavarria said. "401(k) education is broken. People use enrollment books that participants don't want to read."

The solution, he said, involves tapping the power of "digital video, animation and entertainment" to reach out to participants. That doesn't mean, though, that feelsmartabout is completely doing away with print materials.

Feelsmartabout divides its target audience into four groups -- those in the early stages, family years, transition years and active years. According to Echavarria, a print module targeting twentysomethings, "Feel Smart About Managing and Investing Your Money In Your 20s," will be released in the middle of next month and digital videos will be launched in August.

Echavarria and his team put up three clips on YouTube about a month and a half ago to get the word out on feelsmartabout.

"It's a simple way to expose a brand to the marketplace," said Echavarria, who described the feedback on the clips as "interesting."

Echavarria, 48, co-founded Invesmart in May 1999 with Jeb Britton and Mark Gensheimer. Britton left the firm six years ago, Gensheimer left in 2005, and Echavarria departed the firm in end-July of last year, a couple of weeks following the completion of Invesmart's $85-million sale to StanCorp.

After taking "a little bit of time off," Echavarria began working on his new venture at the beginning of the year.

Asked about the appearance of the word "smart" on both his previous and current ventures' names, Echavarria laughed and said that was not intentional.

"I'm a big believer that people can achieve great things when they feel smart about something. That's how the new company's name came about," he said.

Echavarria, who is credited with creating Invesmart's RightPath, an offering built around that firm's investment advisory services and managed accounts, went on to add: "Invesmart was successful in solving the advice problem. I believe I can do the same thing wih 401(k) education."

Feelsmartabout on YouTube

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