When it came to giving their new fin-tech start-up a name, sisters Ali and Gaby Rosenberg knew what word best evoked the inspiration for their innovative idea and what it aspired to achieve.
Their micro-investing app for female Millennial investors is called Blossom and it's named in honour of their late grandfather, Bertie.
The patriarch of a family of finance professionals, Bertie lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in April 2020.
A year after that heartbreak, his granddaughters launched their digital enterprise under the nickname that Bertie's mother gave him when he was a child.
The sisters reckon their grandfather would laugh to know the pet name his family would never let him forget lives on and he would love how it is opening the door to investing for many who have traditionally been shut out.
"We told people in the industry 'just because you're privileged doesn't mean you're the only one who gets access to this'," Gaby Rosenberg says.
Gaby, who's 26, and Ali, aged 30, are the bright young faces of Australia's next generation of finance technology entrepreneurs.
Identifying a gap in the market for novice investors, their mobile app aims to help people put modest savings towards passive investment.
"Young people, young women, want to be more savvy with their savings," Gaby says.
Between the rollercoaster of cryptocurrency and the high barriers to entering the stock market, it can be difficult for younger and lower- and middle-income Australians to get a foothold.
But the Sydney-based sisters figured that making fixed income investing more accessible could help people build wealth.
Fixed income investments involve generally low-risk assets such as government bonds which provide a fixed stream of income through interest or dividends.
Traditionally, these types of investments have been reserved for hedge funds, financial institutions, super funds and high net-worth individuals because they require high minimum investment amounts and lock up money for longer periods.
But Blossom, as a micro-investing platform, requires a minimum investment of only $5.
Launched in July 2021, it has amassed 13,000 customers with $40 million under management in the Blossom Fund, a professionally managed portfolio of cash, semi-government and government bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
"We're democratising the fixed income market," Ali Rosenberg explains.
"It doesn't matter if you have $5, $500 or $5 million," everyone has access to 5.95 per cent per annum targeted returns.
"It's been a really exciting time for us because we've just increased our rates to the most competitive in the market," she says.
Millennial investors in particular have embraced the app to save lump sums for weddings, holidays and home deposits.
Blossom encourages customers to take their micro-investing seriously by squirrelling away every spare dollar and cent. The app can be linked with mobile banking software to round up everyday purchases to an even dollar amount and each week Blossom sweeps up the loose change and funnels it into an account.
Gaby, who is saving her own home deposit with Blossom, insists "you don't need to be brave to invest".
While the fear of choosing a single stock and watching it plummet in value can be terrifying, using funds like Blossom as an investment vehicle allowed you to choose your level of risk and have professionals handle the management.
The Blossom Fund is managed by Fortlake Asset Management. Fortlake's liquidity manager Dr Christian Baylis, who has two decades of experience in fixed income investing and a PhD in econometrics, helps the sisters grow the fund.
Driven by the desire to remove "as many restrictions in the market as possible", the Rosenbergs say they wanted an "easier and fairer way" for people trying to save.
"As we know, there are fewer options for Aussies to do more with their money," Ali says. "Especially if you take the environment now with volatile interest rates, shaky equity markets and global uncertainty because of all the interest rate changes."
A key part of Blossom's appeal for millennials is its commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and inclusion, including ethical and environmentally responsible investments that exclude coal, oil and gas.
It also donates to tree planting in bushfire-affected regions and cancer research by the Garvan Institute.
The Rosenbergs say their mission to leave their customers' savings and the environment "much better than we found them" reflects their grandfather Bertie's "spirit and ethos". The family affair extends to their father, Lance Rosenberg, the CEO of Gleneagle Securities, which is the responsible entity for Blossom's fund.
Both siblings launched out of university into nimble online businesses, learning the ropes before embarking on their future venture as co-founders.
The sisters now work side-by-side at Blossom after Ali took a full-time role this year with the outfit's five-person team.
Despite its youth appeal, the sisters say their app is also being embraced by other demographics.
Single parents have Blossom as a source of passive income, retirees use it to grow their nest eggs and "super financially literate" crypto-enthusiasts are diversifying their portfolio with lower-risk bonds.
And recently Blossom has expanded into business and self-managed super fund products.
"We have a really engaged group of customers that are always happy to give us feedback that drives most of our innovation," Ali says.
Each week across the ACM network, Blossom app co-founders Ali and Gaby Rosenberg will offer quick tips for big wins in understanding your money. Go & Grow starts Monday November 20.
- ACM co-owner Alex Waislitz is a shareholder of Fortlake Asset Management. ACM is the publisher of this newspaper.