First Tool Chosen by Ladenburg Innovation Lab
Helps independent contractors calculate and withhold estimated income tax from their payments and submit quarterly payments to the IRS.
Exciting new tools, technologies and services – this was the clear philosophy around what “innovation” would mean when Ladenburg launched the Innovation Lab in January of 2018. What was not included in that definition of “innovation”? The notion that Ladenburg had to invent these exciting new tools.
Undeniably, one of the hallmarks of the era we are living through is that disruptive innovation comes from new sources all the time – specifically – start-ups. In fact, the explosion in “fintech” companies coming out of Silicon Valley and other areas around the country is one of the key reasons why the Innovation Lab approach is to leverage the innovation of these new entrepreneurs – in places like Silicon Valley to learn about emerging platforms that can add value to advisors and their clients.
In May 2018, a new idea was tested by holding a small event in San Francisco, where interesting new start-ups were brought together in one place and presented to a small group of advisors. Hosted in a co-working space in the same building where Twitter is headquartered, the event featured five entrepreneurs showcasing their products and taking questions from the audience.
One of the firms that presented was Track Technology. Track’s founders – including CEO Trent Bigelow – were former technology workers who frequently used to work as independent contractors. A few administrative burdens they faced as freelancers were both the time it took to calculate and withhold estimated income tax from their payments, and then submitting quarterly payments to the IRS. So, Trent and his colleagues built a solution to their problem: Track.
A Track user simply has to sign in and connect their bank account. Track then monitors the deposits into the account. Track will ask the user questions, so it can learn which deposits represent independent income. Then the app calculates what must be withheld, automatically withdraws it, and sets it aside so the user doesn’t spend what they need come tax time. Track can also submit the quarterly estimated tax payments on the user’s behalf.
Altogether, it effectively becomes a “payroll” service to its users, enabling them to enjoy the benefits full-time employees receive: the taxes owed are already withheld from their income. They can properly budget and then submit to the IRS, and don’t have to take the time to file the paperwork.
This immediately resonated with advisors at Ladenburg’s inaugural innovation event. Some advisors even signed up for the service for their own bank accounts on-the-spot. Throughout the event we learned about the macro trends in the workforce, and it became clear that independent income will become an increasingly significant part of how Americans get paid. Track, therefore, represented both an immediate time saver for advisors, and additionally an increasingly important tool they can offer to their clients. With that, the decision was made to make the first strategic venture capital investment in Track.
The Innovation Lab is delighted to take the first step rolling out and offering Track Technologies to you – the advisor – as part of Ladenburg Advantage. Save yourself hours of administrative burden, hours you can better use to service your clients and build your business.
Right now, it’s a tool for you and your office, but soon the plan is to enable your advisory business to offer Track as a tool to your clients under your branding.
Track is the first firm the Innovation Lab has invested in, but it will not be the last. Stay tuned for more tools Ladenburg is dedicated to uncovering first – to ensure you are among the very first advisors who use the most modern and innovative solutions available.
For more information, please contact:
Senior Vice President of Business Development
For Financial Professional Use Only