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Mint Mint com the financial planning startup has an army

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Mint Mint com the financial planning startup has an army Powered By Docstoc
					Mint.com, the financial-planning startup, has an army of
high-profile investors

First off, mint.com is a neat, well organized and professional web site to put your finances
under control. Explained in layman terms Mint helps you find better interest rates on bank
accounts, credit cards, and other financial products. But here is the interesting part. The site
officially launched in September 18, 2007, after nearly two years of development and
significant private beta testing, and in just a few weeks, after being announced winner on
TechCrunch40, the site took seriously off. In just 18 days, the company said, they had reached
more than $2 billion worth of people’s personal financial accounts, and identified more than
$40 million in potential savings for those members. In a moment Mint ended up having a new
member every five seconds. It turned out that people really will do anything to save a buck.
There were more than 50,000 accounts opened up. And logically the investors jumped in.
Total funding in no time reached $5.5M for Mint Software. Institutional investors include
Shasta Ventures and First Round Capital and the company’s angel investors are Josh
Kopelman, Rob Hayes, Tod Francis, Ron Conway, Mark Goines, Geoff Ralston, Jeff Clavier,
Sy Fahimi and the last but not least Ram Shriram. Some of the angels are top executives from
eBay, Intuit, Google, Yahoo, Charles Schwab, Wilson Sonsini, Reuters, Adteractive, and
Weblogic/BEA. Under no doubt it is not every day you can see such a jumpstart for a start-up
company. The company’s founder Aaron Patzer has an interesting story to tell about one of
his angels – Ram Shriram. Ram Shriram actually came in about a month after we closed our
round. At the time we only had about $200k open in the round. Unlike most investors (who
wait a week, talk to their friends, bring you back for multiple meetings), Ram said ―Okay, I’m
in‖ before I was done with the presentation. He then explained that he had no upper limit on
what he could invest (good problem to have!), but that his accountants lose track if he doesn’t
invest at least $500k. So needless to say, we opened the round up a bit.

Today, just a few months later, Mint claims to have already well over 100,000 registered
members (accounts) and is now organizing $6 billion in user transactions, and has identified
nearly $90 million in savings opportunities. The company says users are telling them, via their
rapid adoption and through survey feedback, that Mint.com is enabling them to do more with
their money.

Mint.com’s first customer survey, conducted in December, 2007, shows that 87% of
respondents feel they better understand their spending after using Mint. And nearly half of
them have changed their spending behavior as a result of what they’ve learned.* the most
frequent change being eating and drinking at home more often.

More about Mint

Mint is the freshest, most intelligent way for you to manage your money online. Not only is
Mint free, it saves you money. While existing personal finance software packages require
hours to set up, a passion for accounting (is that possible?) and hours of weekly maintenance,
Mint is virtually effortless.

With Mint, you can be fully up and running in less than five minutes. After that,
revolutionary, patent-pending Mint technology does the rest, with virtually no more work
required. It automatically pulls together your bank, credit union and credit card data, and
provides up-to-date and amazingly accurate views of your financial life - from the big picture
to specific details, in a friendly and intuitive way.

In addition, Mint goes beyond visibility and analysis; providing personalized money-saving
and money-making suggestions. Mint provides users an average of $1,000 in savings
opportunities during their first session. Plus, Mint is proactive— alerting you when you are
overbudget, have a low balance, need to pay a bill, and more.

Mint is safe and secure: we never know your identity and we provide bank level data security.

How Mint works
Mint is a modern, powerful, easy and secure web-based solution for managing your finances.
And it’s free. You register anonymously using any valid email address, and then add the log-
in information for the online bank, credit union and credit card accounts you want to
consolidate in Mint.

Mint connects to over 3,500 US financial institutions. Your account information is updated
each night. Mint automatically categorizes all your purchases, showing you how much you
spend on gas, groceries, parking, rent, restaurants, DVD rentals and more, with amazing
precision. An advanced alerting system highlights any unusual activity, low balances,
unwanted fees and charges, and upcoming bills so you’re in constant contact with your money
– effortlessly. 


Mint goes way beyond just reporting. Using a patent-pending search algorithm, Mint
constantly searches through thousands of offers from hundreds of providers to find the best
deals on everything from bank accounts to credit cards; cable, phone and Internet plans, and
more. Mint’s suggestions are ―unique to you‖ as they are based on your individual spending
patterns. For example, if you have $20,000 in a bank account that’s earning no interest, Mint
might recommend a high interest rate savings account from ING or HSBC. Acting on that
suggestion would give you an extra $900 in interest income over a year.

Key Benefits
Mint is an entirely new approach to personal financial management. You don’t work for Mint,
it works for you. We think you’ll love Mint because it’s:

Easy to use: You’re up and running in under five minutes. And Mint does virtually all the rest.
Comprehensive: Mint provides detailed visibility into virtually all your financial relationships
with a single, secure login
Visual and Analytical: Mint gives you powerful insights into your finances - making it easier
to make good financial decisions
Constantly working to find you savings: Mint typically finds users $1,000 in savings
opportunities in their first session – minutes after registering. And Mint keeps looking for new
ways for you to save every day --- continuously comparing your needs to product, service and
bank offerings most relevant to you.
Secure: Mint provides bank level data security and industry leading identity protection. Its
security and privacy have been validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe.
Always On: You’re automatically notified of upcoming bills, low balances, and any unusual
activity in any of your accounts, through one (m)interface.
Anywhere/anytime access: You can get to Mint anywhere, anytime over the web
And it’s Free!
Breakthrough Technology
Aaron’s personal experience led him to create to two breakthrough technologies which make
Mint so useful, intuitive and unique:

Patent-pending categorization technology that automatically identifies and organizes
purchases from descriptions in the electronic records at banks and credit card companies.
A proprietary search algorithm which finds savings opportunities unique to each user.
Mint’s technology does everything automatically in a way that other online banking
applications and personal finance management software can’t. It provides useful information
and smart, specific recommendations for saving or making more money based on each user’s
individual purchase history.

Today, after nearly two years of development and significant private beta testing, Mint is
preparing to announce the public beta of Mint.com. The company has put together an
experienced executive and engineering team, and has attracted funding from top tier venture
capital firms and angel investors.



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Security

Security is crucial when someone is dealing with your financial information and it is no
wonder there were many debates surrounding Mint in the public space. We have dug
information up ourselves and have found many interesting commentaries made by Mint’s
CEO, which we enclose below. Below is what Aaron Patzer, Founder & CEO at Mint.com,
has to tell about security.

To all those who are concerned over Mint.com security, a few points:
1) You’re anonymous on Mint.com
2) Our security is independently verified
3) Email & text-message alerts help identify fraud immediately…and being proactive is the
best measure.

I’ll make a bold statement: You’re safer on Mint then with online banking. On Mint, you’re
completely anonymous. We never ask for a name, address, or SSN - just an email. We know
about your finances…but not about you. We’re also independently verified by Verisign,
TrustE, and several outside agencies.

We also have serious physical security. Our servers are in a secure, unmarked facility. To get
in, you need to pass 3 biometric scanners, 4 locked doors, and several guards. We have our
own cage so we’re physically separated from all other companies. Cameras monitor our
servers and power supplies 24/7. The servers themselves have additional locks. The hard
drives are encrypted. It’s like Mission Impossible (except without the electrified
floors…maybe one day).

Perhaps more interestingly, 90% of all fraud actually occurs offline, not online (e.g. someone
swipes your card at a restaurant or from your mail). Because Mint sends proactive alerts for
low-balance or unusually high spending, you’ll know right away. It’s better than logging into
4-5 different banks every day, or waiting 30 days for a paper statement before finding that
something went wrong.

By law you have:
- $0 liability for credit card fraud,
- $50 liability for bank fraud (if you notify your bank within two days)

Again, 90% of all fraud starts offline
(http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=178600217), for
example when someone takes your credit card at a restaurant, or digs through your mail.
Sadly, a large portion of fraud is actually committed by friends and family members.

Mint.com helps keep you safe by providing email and text-message alerts for:
- Low balances (e.g. someone is draining your account)
- Unusual spending (e.g. someone buys $1000 in electronics in a day)
- Low available credit

If there are any anomalies, Mint.com shows you right away. The alternative is to a) login to
every single credit card, checking, and savings account every day to check for fraud, or b)
wait 30 days until a paper statement arrives before noticing an issue.

By taking a proactive approach, Mint.com actually helps protect you from the vast majority of
fraud - better than just about any website out there.

Concerning whether using Mint.com violates your bank terms & conditions:

Consider that Quicken and Microsoft Money ask you for the exact same credentials as
Mint.com, and have been for the past 10 years. MS Money even uses Yodlee to make it’s
connection to banks (same as Mint.com, BofA, and Fidelity).

The problem with those tools is they cost $30-$80, sunset their products every 2-3 years to
force an upgrade, require an hour to setup, and take an hour a week to maintain.
Mint is like an extension to online banking: pull all your accounts together in one place,
finally see where your money goes, get alerts on anything out of whack, and find savings
opportunities worth an average of $1,000/user.

Mint never gives your information to third party advertisers. We have a proprietary database
of financial offers, interest rates, and communications (phone, tv, internet, wireless) providers.
The matching is done in software, anonymously.

Your information never leaves Mint.com. If or when you click through on a savings
opportunity, no information is passed except that the click came from Mint.com.

Mint does make a small referral fee from advertisers on some offers. That’s what keeps Mint
free. Whether we have a relationship with a provider in no way affects our ranking algorithm
– we find users the best interest rate or lowest price regardless.

What this means in the end is Mint only makes money if we can find ways for the user to save
money. And we think that’s pretty revolutionary. The only ads you see are ads that make you
money…think about how different that is as a business model.

What the company, by that time, seemed not to be dealing with is the offers it makes are often
not competitive with or comparable to what users are getting, mint is just having no way to
know that!

For example, I have a Capital One card with 1% back. You see my Capital One account with
? for a cash return, and ―offer‖ me a 1% back card (a *savings* of $250/year!). There needs to
be a way to user input the specifics of current accounts and products before you offer to
―save‖ me all that dough!

Mint has told by that time they are tackling the issue within the next month or so, they will be
able to accurately capture the rewards earned on just about every credit card. Then, it will be
able to accurately reflect the fact you are earning 1% back on your Capital One card. We were
unable to dig something up from the public web as to whether this issue has been fixed or not.

Some more drawbacks as we have found them around Web are as follows. You can't import
data to Mint in any way other than through your financial institution, meaning that if you've
got years' worth of financial data in Quicken, don't count on importing it to Mint. That said,
Mint can load over a year of your most recent financial data (depending on how long your
institution provides it) when you sign up. On a similar note, Mint doesn't export data—
meaning if you decided to ditch Mint for another money management solution, you're not
going to get a CSV file or any other export of your data.

The most notable and practical drawback to Mint came in the form of strangely named,
incomplete transaction descriptions (the imported name was strange—the actual transaction
name at the originating financial institution was more descriptive). As a result, I ran into
problems setting up renaming rules for transactions in Mint. For example, a transaction that
read in my checking account (at the actual US Bank web site) as "Web Authorized Payment
AT&T" showed up in Mint as "Web Payment" or something along those lines. I set Mint to
automatically rename this transaction to AT&T, but then every Web Authorized Payment in
my account was renamed AT&T, although some were gas or water and power bills. Similarly,
"Purchase with PIN" shows up in the ledger as "With," which is not terribly helpful. Next to
the all-in-one account integration, automation is Mint's biggest draw—which means these sort
of minor issues need worked out before you can set up renaming rules with complete
confidence (especially since you can't currently undo renaming rules). On the flip side, Mint
claims to accurately identify and rename 90% of imported transactions without any need for
user import, compared to Quicken's 40% (their numbers).

Management team

Aaron Patzer
Founder and CEO
Aaron is both the visionary and technical mind behind Mint, the first free, automatic and
secure way to manage and save money online. He designed Mint to meet his own needs and
those of people like him who value the immediacy of the Web, simplicity and their free time.
With 10 patents filed or pending, Aaron brings strong innovation skills to Mint. Prior to
founding Mint, Aaron was an architect and technical lead for the San Jose division of
Nascentric. Before Nascentric, Aaron worked for IBM and founded two web development
and online marketing companies: PWeb and International. Aaron holds an MSEE from
Princeton University and a BS in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical
engineering from Duke University.

Aaron’s Financial Personality? Über-Frugal but lusting in his heart for expensive cars.

Donna Wells
Chief Marketing Officer
Donna brings over twenty years’ experience in strategic management and marketing to the
Mint team, with specific expertise in the financial services industry and online demand
generation. She led client acquisition/retention, brand-building and product development for
organizations ranging from start-ups to global brands - including Expedia, myCFO, Intuit,
Charles Schwab and American Express. Prior to Mint, Donna was Senior Vice President of
Marketing at Expedia, where she was responsible for strategic direction of the company’s
brand, advertising, direct marketing, customer and partner marketing and market research. At
Intuit, as Vice President of Corporate Marketing and acting CMO, she led the company’s
corporate marketing functions and general marketing strategy. She also served as Vice
President of Intuit’s Small Business and Personal Finance division, responsible for direct
marketing, channel marketing and market research for the Quicken, QuickBooks and Small
Business Services businesses. Donna joined Intuit from myCFO, Inc., where she was Chief
Marketing Officer. She previously held senior positions at Charles Schwab, where she led
marketing for segments representing 70% of all Schwab client households, and American
Express, where she launched the Gold Rewards and Platinum Corporate Cards. Donna holds a
MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a BS in Economics from
the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a past Board member of the
Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco and the Marketing 50.

Donna’s spending personality: Unremarkable, except in her weakness for luxury hotels.

David K Michaels
VP Engineering
David has over 10 years experience in building secure, distributed, fault-tolerant systems.
David was most recently leading the development of server products for PGP, where he
helped design, build and ship three major versions of the company&apos;s flagship product:
PGP Universal. Prior to PGP, he built a high-volume financial information product targeting
online retail equity traders. David was on the server team at NetDynamics (acquired by Sun
Microsystems), implementing core features for security, scalability, fault-tolerance,
distributed load balancing, and performance. He has also worked at GeoCities, where he
developed the company&apos;s first capability to insert advertising banners on its pages. He
has held several positions with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on
distributed systems and the WWW. David holds a M.S. in Computer Science with honors
from Stanford University and a B.S. in Computer and Information Science from the New
Jersey Institute of Technology.

David’s Financial Personality? Conservative and analytic in all spending categories Dining
Out. Major Foodie.

Aaron Forth
VP Product
Aaron brings over ten years’ of product development and product management experience to
Mint. Prior to joining Mint, Aaron held several leadership positions at eBay and Half.com
(acquired by eBay Inc.). Most recently, as Director of Advertising, Aaron was responsible for
product strategy, design and product development. Aaron has a background in multivariate
testing used to drive analytically-based decisions around product design, improved user
experience and strategic partnerships. Prior to working in advertising, Aaron managed internet
marketing and product management teams, focused on search engine marketing, search
engine optimization and affiliate marketing. Aaron’s career in software was established at
Kana Communications, Inc., a CRM software start-up. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Earth
Sciences from University of California, Berkeley.

Aaron’s spending personality: Frugal at heart. Focused on enjoying life in practice.

Anton Commissaris
VP Business Development
Anton is responsible for Mint’s business strategy, revenue and partner development. Anton
brings to Mint over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet sectors spanning legal,
operations, marketing and business development roles. Prior to Mint, Anton was Vice
President of Business Development at Right Hemisphere, the leader in visual product
communications and collaboration. Prior to Right Hemisphere, Anton was Director of
Business Development at Spotlife (Logitech) a pioneer in Web consumer video solutions.
Anton began his career as an attorney working in London and Paris, and then in Palo Alto,
California at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the leading law firm for emerging growth
high technology companies. He holds law degrees from the University of Auckland and the
University of Montpellier, France.

Anton’s Financial Personality? The ultimate deal-seeker and most passionate negotiator. We
love having him run Biz Dev.

Mint has been named Best of Show at the 2007 Financial Innovations conference. Mint has
also been chosen as the best presenting company at TechCrunch40 and has won a $50,000
cash award. In December 28, 2007 Mint.com has also won the 2008 PC World 25 Most
Innovative Products Award.
Competitors include BillMonk, Expensr, Wesabe, Zecco, Buxfer, SpendView, Geezeo,
sMoneyBox, FreeAgentCentral, Covestor.com, Yodlee, wclipperz.com and passpack.com,
among others.


More

http://www.mint.com
http://www.mint.com/blog
http://www.mint.com/press/downloads/release_20080108.pdf
http://www.mint.com/press/downloads/release_20071228.pdf
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/16/mints-47-million-a-round/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/mint
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/18/mint-wins-techcrunch40-50000-award/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/14/billeo-secures-7-million-in-financing/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/07/mint-rakes-it-in/
http://www.netbanker.com/2007/10/mint_mortgagebot_and_prosper_w.html
http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=178600217
http://www.crunchbase.com/person/aaron-patzer
http://www.linkedin.com/in/apatzer
http://twitter.com/apatzer
http://digg.com/users/apatzer
http://consumerist.com/commenter/apatzer/
http://www.spock.com/Aaron-Patzer-NBd4i1sF
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/18/techcrunch40-session-5-productivity-web-apps/
http://blog.mint.com/blog/personal-finance-interview/personal-finance-interview-with-aaron-
patzer-of-mymintcom/
http://blog.mint.com/blog/personal-finance-interview/mint-team-spotlight-sid-bhatt/
http://www.finovate.com/
http://r3fresh.com/2007/10/09/how-secure-is-mintcom/
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/22/fashion/22CYBER.html?ex=1353819600&en=6199204
353c38df5&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
http://venturebeat.com/2007/09/18/mint-the-easiest-way-to-manage-your-personal-finances/
http://lifehacker.com/software/screenshot-tour/is-mint-ready-for-your-money-312083.php
http://consumerist.com/consumer/budgets/mintcom-+-a-new-free-personal-finance-
management-site-301172.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Shriram

				
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