Meet the mutual fund with its own MySpace profile

Thrasher Funds, a New York-based investment start-up, is targeting Generations X and Y with a slick lineup of holdings and lots of hot pink.

Money is boring, unless you're spending it on something like an iPhone or a cute new pair of shoes.

Or unless you make investment cool, which is what a new company called Thrasher Funds is trying to do. It's a new mutual fund that's targeting the under-35 crowd with a bunch of youth-oriented and tech-focused holdings (Apple, Uniqlo, Diageo, American Apparel, Volkswagen, Google, and Garmin), "investment parties," and a Web site that looks like a Good Charlotte album cover.

"Commercials from financial behemoths only implore Baby Boomers to start planning and saving for their retirements, and/or their children's college tuition," a company description explains. "That's fine if you're over 40 with children. But what if you're not? What if you're a child of the 70's, 80's or 90's? What should you be planning for?"

Yeah, it's different. New York magazine's Web site called Thrasher Funds "despicable [and] brilliant, and its young writers attested that "we already have an extreme case of generational embarrassment, one that may or may not be manifesting itself in a full-body rash right now. But then again, that's how we felt about Garden State!"

Thrasher Funds isn't a technology company, really. But they're targeting the social-networking generation, which means that yes, the company has a MySpace page. And they've set up shop in the Silicon Alley boardinghouse known as Sunshine Suites, meaning that they're getting plenty of cooties from local Web 2.0 start-ups also using the space.

They're additionally getting a boost from the city-focused women's newsletter Daily Candy, which not only has proudly touted Thrasher as the first-ever investment company to advertise on the e-mail list but also hosted the finance start-up's launch party last week at the Caravan clothing boutique in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood. The sparkling rose wine was flowing, the company founders were chatting it up with guests, and everything in the store was priced at 20 percent off. (Now that's what I call a party!)

At this point, it looks like all Thrasher really needs is a celebrity executive, you know, like DanceJam's M.C. Hammer or Ooma's Ashton Kutcher.

Thrasher Funds' Web site, which looks like it took a cue from Good Charlotte. Thrasher Funds

That said, the company also has to prove itself to some extent before young people (even the ones eager to jump on the trendiness bandwagon) are willing to commit actual cash to it. Word-of-mouth testimonials, when they exist, are going to mean a heck of a lot more than a savvy ad campaign. This is the generation that's reportedly afraid to tackle health insurance head-on; mutual funds still are going to look kind of scary to some, no matter how much hot pink is on the Web site.

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Tech Culture
About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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