An app called Acorns is setting the stage for investments by newbie millennials hoping to get their start in stock investing. The app links to a bank account and allows members to invest minimal amounts in one of five specially-selected equity funds.

Just as a squirrel will bury thousands of acorns one at a time for later use during the winter, members can funnel small increments of money throughout the day into their investment using the app. This is facilitated by a linked credit or debit card and checking account selected by the user.

Unlike most investment opportunities in stocks, for example accounts with brokerage firms or individual stock funds, there is no minimum investment. In addition, the fee for members with account balances less than $5,000 is a minimal $1 per month, while investment totals over that amount are billed at 0.25 percent of the amount.

The app recommends an investment portfolio based on the user's personal financial situation, age and other factors. Five different configurations of six index ETFs, which include broad holdings of stock or bonds, are available, all of which are based on an investment strategy by Harry Markowitz, a Nobel Prize-winning investment strategist who values simplicity and long-term outlook. No individual stocks can be traded via Acorns.

One of the most innovative aspects of the app is the "round-ups" process, which essentially invests a member's virtual small change received throughout the day automatically. Any purchase made with the connected debit or credit card, or PayPal, will be rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the change deposited into the investor's account.

For example, if the member makes a $5.35 purchase at a convenience store, the linked card will be debited for $6, with the additional $.65 deposited into the investor's Acorn account.

The co-founder and CEO of the company, Jeff Cruttenden, says his app takes the guesswork and intimidation factor out of the picture for newbie investors.

"Investing has been built up into this big idea that's become an emotional hurdle," Cruttenden says. "From a user experience standpoint, it's terrible asking them to make a huge decision. People are afraid of making the wrong decisions, picking the wrong stocks - the choice out there is so large that it's paralyzing."

Acorns' approach appears to be working. The app already has more than 700,000 members, three-quarters of whom are in the 18-to-34 age bracket.

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