Our vision is to help everyone create a meaningful legacy
At Vanilla, we build tools that help financial advisors collaborate on the most intimate planning with their clients—and empower everyone to make the most of their life’s work.
Bringing together innovative technology, design, and industry-leading wealth transfer strategies, Vanilla simplifies and standardizes the estate planning process, enabling advisors to proactively partner with their clients to evaluate, optimize, and evolve their estate plan as clients’ needs change over time.
Estate planning is the last frontier of wealth management
Estate planning is a foundational piece of the wealth management picture, with more than $84 trillion set to be transferred to the next generation over the next quarter century. Advisors are facing increasing pressure to diversify their offerings as a new class of technology company offers investing services at a fraction of the cost of traditional advisory fees. Estate planning is a logical extension of the value advisors bring to their clients—but most advisors lack the resources to be effective in guiding their clients through the process.
So at Vanilla, we’re not just rebuilding estate planning—we’re redefining it. We envision a world where advisors are empowered to guide their clients through estate planning with confidence, and everyone is empowered to maximize the impact of their life’s work, and we believe in the power of technology and design to make it possible.
Built by advisors for advisors
Vanilla was born out of need. In his career as one of Barron’s top ranked independent advisors, Steve Lockshin had come to understand the importance of estate planning in helping his clients reach their financial goals and take care of the people and causes they care about.
As Lockshin helped his ultra-high net worth clients with strategies, it became apparent how broken the current system of estate planning was for people of all income levels. It was a costly, convoluted practice made up of a maze of obsolete tools and processes. And even when a wave of financial tech tools came onto the market, none properly addressed the complexities of estate planning for financial advisors.
In 2019, Lockshin founded Vanilla to solve the problem he encountered for years. He aimed to simplify and automate the process of estate planning, making it easier for financial advisors to give bespoke estate strategies at scale.
Venrock and Insight Partners provided Vanilla funding, enabling the estate planning startup to attract top tech talent including Gene Farrell, formerly of Amazon and Smartsheet, who joined as the company’s CEO in December, 2021.
Other investors of Vanilla include F. William McNabb III, former CEO of Vanguard Group, Michael Jordan, NBA legend and businessman, and Jason Wenk, advisor and founder and CEO of Altruist. Vanilla launched its beta product to a select number of advisors in 2021 and opened a more robust estate planning platform in the fall of 2022.