Daily Archives: September 14, 2009

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Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Intuit will acquire the free online personal finance service, Mint, for around $170 million. The deal, which should be announced in the next few days, puts Mint in a new league. As TechCrunch's Michael Arrington described it, "This is a terrific exit for Mint, which first launched two years ago at TechCrunch50. Mint took the top prize at that event and has been growing fast ever since." Growing fast, eh? Let's talk about explosive growth. I'm talking gaining 3,000 new users a day and jumping from 600,000 to 850,000 users in a matter of months. The best part is that Intuit didn't believe the numbers and sent Mint a threatening letter demanding an explanation for the user sign-up success.

I guess Intuit got the answers they wanted given today's news. I can see exactly what they see in Mint. As Rob at Regular Geek points out, it was born in the glory days of Web 2.0 and comes without all the baggage of Web 1.0 software products. Where Quicken is desktop-like, heavy and complex to use, Mint uses light graphics and is focused on spending against a budget versus the dull and overwhelming focus on bill payment and tracking. They've done a lot of things right with the Mint product and have made personal finance accessible and and even fun for the average Joe.

This acquisition bodes well for those of us in the social trading and investing space.  It shows that a serious player like Intuit finds tremendous value in the product and the users of an innovative Web 2.0 company. It proves that breaking the model of the way trading, investing and saving have always been done creates market opportunity, revenue opportunity and innovation opportunity. What a great way to start a Monday. Congrats to the Mint team on this exciting accomplishment.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex.  Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

 

 

Currensee Investing Solutions:

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.

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I spent most of my career in the financial services industry. Back in the day, when I was working at one of the "big guys", we were truly innovative. New products, new technologies, first to market on many fronts but then something changed. The big guys got big and when you get big, you get hung up in meetings, politics, reorgs, red tape, managing up, reforcasting budgets and, voila, all the big innovation gets pushed aside for making the numbers and keeping the beast steady as she goes.

When I took the leap into the land of startups I never imagined a financial services vertical for startups. I wondered what there was to innovate in a place so layered in compliance, risk, security and privacy hangups? Well, first I discovered Currensee, and was charmed and delighted by the innovation and technology in the space. Then, most recently, I came across Finovate.

For those of you who know TechCrunch50 or DEMO, Finovate is the financial services equivalent. A Spring and Fall yearly event that "showcases the best new financial and banking technology innovations from established leading companies and hot young startups." The Finovate judges hand-pick the companies that get their 7 minutes of fame on stage to show (live demos only, no slideware) their latest and greatest to an audience filled with VCs, big financial services companies looking for ideas and other startups watching the competition.

After checking out several of the companies, I was pretty impressed. I loved Smarty Pig - simple, smart savings plans and accounts you can create with your family and friends. And, BrightScope - transparent information and ratings for your 401k plan.  Then there's my favorite, Bill Shrink - where Dave in Witchita found a cell phone provider that will save him $500 a year. Now, that's smart.

The best news in reviewing all the Finovate finalists is that they are all in the same business - making life simpler and better. That's where the big guys often miss the boat. When you connect to the real goal of the average investor it is, quite simply, to have a damn, good life. I am loving the fact that financial services startups are connecting to this reality, cooking up unique products and services and serving up a solid dose of innovation. We're happy to share the financial services startup space with these exciting companies and putting Finovate on our horizon for 2010.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex.  Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.

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Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.