About once a year for the past six years, Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein said he thought about rebranding the company he co-founded more than a decade ago.
He found Riskalyze was seen as too connected with managing risk, despite growing its array of products and services for advisors. Klein said he often reached out to larger firms, but too often, he’d hear the same refrain.
“They’d say, ‘You guys have a great reputation, a lot of our advisors love you … but we just don’t really need a risk tolerance documentation tool,’” he said. “And it just became clear for us that the next half of our customers coming aboard, they need to walk through our front doors looking for a growth solution and platform, rather than stumbling over one after they get here.”
After Klein first revealed that Riskalyze would rebrand and change the company name during its annual summit in Salt Lake City last October, he announced today it settled on “Nitrogen” as its new brand name.
Riskalyze was founded in 2011, and Klein said advisors quickly saw its tools to essentially compare and match the subjective measures of risk between clients and portfolios as a growth driver. Under Klein, the company poured more than $50 million into research and development, with more than 5 million “Risk Numbers” delivered to clients since its inception.
"We turned a subjective process and we turned it into a quantitative process," Klein said during Tuesday's announcement revealing the new name.
Over the past decade or so, the firm has continued to add several new functions and integrations, including moving into trading, rebalancing and marketing automation in 2019, later tax-loss harvesting and home office management tools, among other offerings.
Last summer, several months after Craig Clark took over as chief marketing officer, he told Klein he’d researched whether the company should rebrand, and believed it was not only a possibility but a necessity.
“Branding is very much a double-edged sword. If you don’t do it well, you can change your brand to mean anything you want to mean,” Klein said. “If you do a really, really good job, you’re stuck; you’re in the box you created for yourself. And we named the company after the first thing we released.”
After that conversation, Riskalyze enlisted the help of Lexicon Branding, the company behind naming products like Sonos, Swiffer, Febreze and the Subaru Outback, to help generate ideas. The company eventually pitched Riskalyze about 40 ideas, according to Klein, who said the selection of Nitrogen was nearly instantaneous. (Focus Lab designed the rebrand’s visuals).
During the announcement, Clark said the company settled on the new name because nitrogen is "an absolutely essential element for growth" in nature. Clark said the new logo will still use the recognizable Riskalyze hexagon, which was a nod to their origins, but also features fractals, an ever-expanding geometric shape.
Though Klein stressed the company’s mission hadn’t changed, the new brand would focus attention on client growth, rather than solely on managing risk. Klein reiterated with “absolute clarity” his position from last fall that “as far as we can see in the future,” Riskalyze would not become an asset platform, turnkey asset management platform or charge its clients' basis points on managed assets.
“Strategy is about saying ‘no’ to things; if you’re going to say ‘we do everything,’ that’s not an effective strategy,” he said. “We’re not moving to the right and building into the asset platform space, because we think there’s an opportunity to own the growth space.”
Klein referred to the company’s wealth management offerings as a “growth platform,” which he defined as the organization’s approach to help firms turn meetings into clients (and by extension, assets into firms’ asset platforms). He described firms’ needs for growth solutions as the center of a donut hole they try to fill with services and tech that, while useful in their own right, were never designed or suited specifically for that task.
“Advisors have been trying to fill that hole for a long time,” Klein said. “There’s a lot of square pegs they’ve tried to shove into that round hole.”
New tools include marketing integrations, proposal generation tools and a firmwide data portal tracking leads and client conversions.
“It’s this open space that Riskalyze has been filling for the last decade, but under the guise of a risk solution,” Klein said. “And I think we’re just more accurately stepping back and saying ‘what we’re really filling is the growth space in the wealthtech stack. And risk is a tool and lever to help drive growth. But the ultimate goal is acquiring new clients and retaining existing ones.”
Though Riskalyze has been retired as the company’s name, it will live on as a product name within Nitrogen, according to Klein.
Along with the rebranding, Nitrogen announced several new upgrades and integrations.
Samantha Russell, chief evangelist at FMG Suite, announced the Risk Number and lead generation questionnaire will “very soon” be in the FMG content library and available as a website widget.
Justin Boatman, Nitrogen's chief product officer, said the company was debuting a new marketing kit that includes the personal lead generation questionnaire in QR form.
The company also debuted Nitrogen AI, which is a virtual content assistant “powered by some of the most popular AI engines.” Boatman said developers fed it with their advisors’ specific content to help generate ideas for social media and blog posts.
Boatman added the company completely redesigned its stress tests and added “2022 Inflation,” which will allow advisors to illustrate the effects of the last year on equities and bonds of their clients.
The company also announced it has partnered with Orion Advisor Solutions to ship a new integration that seeks to makes it easier to manage data and keep the assets in sync.
Reporter Rob Burgess contributed to this report.