June 2010 Archives
Here are the news headlines we posted this week on Twitter (follow our feed here).
Bling Nation hires Matthew Murphy as General Manager for the newly-formed Pacific region. Murphy comes to Bling Nation from Chegg.com, where he served as vice president of marketing. http://bit.ly/finovate6232
Kapitall hosts a Facebook contest for a new advertising slogan. Contest ends July 21st. The winner will receive an iPod Touch. http://bit.ly/finovate6233
LiqPAY wins award for coin management technology. LiqPAY received accolades from the Innovation in Banking Technology Awards. http://bit.ly/finovate6213
Mango (sister company to Finovate alums Gratio and MPower) sweetens up banking! See the full story at Netbanker. http://bit.ly/finovate6241
SecondMarket featured on The Asian Banker [vid]. The video features Jeremy Smith, chief strategy officer at SecondMarket. http://bit.ly/finovate6211
TradeKing is changing clearing firms. TradeKing users, watch for the transition documents to come from Penson. The transition is expected to occur in Q3. http://bit.ly/finovate6235
ValueCruncher launches new comparison analysis tools. See companies' implied share prices and EV/EBITDA in the new calculator tools. http://bit.ly/finovate6234
Yodlee names Jim Frankola as CFO. Frankola joins Yodlee from Ariba Inc. where he was CFO. http://bit.ly/finovate6231
Self-funded startup CalendarBudget
presented its unique calendar-based personal finance tool at
FinovateStartup 2009. The application is a subscription ($4.95/month)
service that allows users to track their personal finances on a
calendar, rather than the customary charts, tables and spreadsheets
that some users may find uncomfortable or intimidating (see the demo
Being self-funded, the company's
marketing resources are somewhat limited. They've turned this
situation into an advantage by making the system easy to "white
label." CalendarBudget has leveraged this decision through
affiliate marketing--effectively allowing other websites to do their
promotion. Affiliates are paid a commission ranging from $1 to $5.25
(USD) per subscriber. The strategy has helped grow the company to
4,500 users, up from 1,100 in the spring of 2009. An example of the
affiliate program at work can be found at http://mysuccessbudget.com.
Founder Eric Poulin says this newer tenet of guerrilla marketing -
using the tools of technology to create buzz - is a core component
of the company's strategy.
In addition to affiliate marketing,
CalendarBudget works with individual companies. Their largest
partnership is with Mortgage Alliance Canada, Canada's largest
mortgage broker company, which white-labeled CalendarBudget as
RightBudget. It's now available to all 1,200 mortgage agents who, on
top of personal use, can offer it to their clients
CalendarBudget has added several new
features, and also now includes the ability to import from Mint.com
and individual bank accounts. They have also added a collection of
video help files to the website.
What's next for Calendar Budget?
Here are the news headlines we posted this week on Twitter (follow our feed here
Billeo releases update.
Version 188.8.131.52 is now available. Several performance improvements included in this Billeo
release. Current users will get an auto-update. http://bit.ly/finovate6133
Fiserv's ZashPay service garners commitment from 100+ financial institution.
More than 100 financial institutions have committed to the peer-to-peer payment service platform from ZashPay
Lending Club hosting an investor strategy Webcast June 24, for investors.
The Lending Club
webcast will be held at 3 PM PST, and will cover strategy, as well as the FolioFn tool, for secondary market trading. http://bit.ly/finovate6194
The Receivables Exchange has been nominated for the American Business Award in two categories. The Receivables Exchange
was nominated for "Executive of the Year" and "Business Innovation of the Year" for the award, also called the "Stevie Award." http://bit.ly/finovate6192
DebtGoal first debuted at FinovateStartup 2009, (see video here
). In the past year, the company has made several changes, most recently the partnership with Jean Chatzky and the launch of NegotiateMyRate.com
both demonstrated at the FinovateSpring 2010 conference (video here
DebtGoal has partnered with Jean Chatzky, a nationally recognized personal finance expert to create the "Pay it Down!" application, part of Chatzky's new personal finance program "The Debt Diet." The application is based on the DebtGoal algorithm, already in use on its website.
Additionally, DebtGoal launched NegotiateMyRate.com, a crowd-sourced tool that provides tips for getting a lower APR on credit card balances.
Tour through NegotiateMyRate.com
The cardholder reviews the list of cards available in the system (currently 11) and selects their card, if available, or "other cards." The cardholder then enters their balance to see a prediction of how likely they are to get a reduction and the average savings from previous successful users (see image 1).
The cardholder is presented with a sample script on how to negotiate a rate reduction.
After calling the company, the cardholder is encouraged to enter their results back into the system.
According to DebtGoal CEO Scott Crawford, since launching in April 2010, more than 500 users have reported negotiation attempts with an overall 50% success rate.
DebtGoal was founded in 2008 by GoalSpring, and has since raised $3.1 million. The company reports that the main site, debtgoal.com, gets 45,000 unique visitors per month. Compete data confirms that number for April and shows a doubling of traffic in May to more than 100,000 unique U.S. visitors. Traffic data is not yet available for NegotiateMyRate.com.
Since Credit Karma
first demonstrated its unique credit-monitoring service at Finovate Fall 2008 (video
) and Finovate Spring 2009 (video
), many changes have taken hold at the company.
- June 2009: Financial advice center, which allows members to share experiences and questions with one another (see image 1).
- September 2009: a white-label platform currently in use by Sears/KMart among others (see Netbanker article) provides even more consumers with free credit-score information.
- February 2010: launches a free service that allows members to view how much they could save by refinancing their existing loan products (see our earlier post). The service works by evaluating the information on the user's credit report and credit score. It runs in real-time, encouraging users to frequently return not only to check their score, but also their financial options (see image 2).
According to Credit Karma, members continue to be frustrated by misleading credit-monitoring services and hard-to-understand financial products. "Our goal is to address each of these needs as we continue to build out the product," said Nichole Mustard, Credit Karma's VP of strategy. "In the near term, we'll be launching more user-submitted areas that allow members to critique and review financial products. In the mid-term, we'll expand our educational features to help more people understand credit scores and the financial services sector."
What they are doing must be working. The company has doubled in size since spring 2009 and anticipates doubling again by year end. Credit Karma has 1.5 million members and is adding more than 100,000 each month. According to Compete, Credit Karma has more than 380,000 unique visitors per month (see chart below).
The company has received $3 million in funding since founding in May 2007, including $2.5 million in series B funding in fall 2009 (source
Here are the news headlines posted this week on Twitter (follow our feed here).
MoneyAisle appears in Kiplinger's Retirement Report (print only). The story appears in the June issue and explains the new "auto loan search" features at MoneyAisle. More from MoneyAisle at http://bit.ly/FINOVATE671
BBVA Compass Bank replaces West Bank as SmartyPig's banking partner. BBVA Compass is the 15th largest bank in America. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE672
Kapitall unveils "search by brand" feature. The new search helps investors to identify the parent company of their favorite brands. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE681 or www.kapitall.com
SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert interviewed by Dan Rather [vid]. See more on SecondMarket's management of "illiquid assets." http://bit.ly/FINOVATE691
MoneyAisle featured in Wallet Pop. Read more about shopping for an auto loan from MoneyAisle at http://bit.ly/FINOVATE692.
SmartCredit.com featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. See SmartCredit.com at work with Oprah and Jean Chatzky as part of the "Debt Diet" series on the program. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE693
Ebay recognizes Outright.com as most innovative app. Outright.com received an award for most innovative application at the Ebay developer's conference. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6101
MPower Ventures in the running for Business Week's "Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs." Twenty-five companies are finalists. Read more at http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6102 or www.mpowerlabs.com.
Micronotes raises another $1.6 million in funding. Yahoo Business reports on the startup's fund raising success. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6103
TransFS.com helps merchants shop for better credit-card processing. TransFS claims that user merchants can save up to 40% by shopping around for merchant services. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6111
Billeo expands merchant directory. Billeo users can now pay their bills online with more than 10,000 merchants. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6112
Peer-to-Peer lender Prosper.com seeks regulation as a lender to avoid SEC. Prosper has asked to become regulated as a lender to ease the regulatory burden of being regulated as an investment firm. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE6113
Just six months after the company broke $1 billion in transactions tracked, Outright.com has reached the $2 billion mark. To coincide with this milestone, Outright has launched a directory of bookkeepers and financial professionals along with simple ways to communicate or hire them (see screen shot below).
The company also implemented a free skills certification for bookkeepers seeking to market their services. Bookkeepers and financial professionals can take a free test and earn an Outright.com certification. Small businesses and financial professionals can earn status/credibility points called "capital" to encourage collaboration and community across the platform.
Also this week, eBay recognized Outright as the most innovative app for sellers and merchants. Outright VP of Marketing Paul O'Brien told us that he was especially excited by the award, given that eBay is used by four million self-employed online sellers, a target market for Outright.
Outright cites Facebook as its inspiration for adding the community platform to its small-business bookkeeping system.
The company has eleven employees and has raised $7.5 million dollars since founding in mid-2008. Outright debuted at Finovate 2009; view their demo video here.
In keeping with tradition, the videos from our latest event, FinovateSpring 2010
, are now available online here
). You can also view demos from the previous five Finovates here
There are dozens of great demos. But four you don't want to miss are from the companies named Best of Show by the live audience on May 11:
- Bobber Interactive: Launched a youth-oriented online banking/savings program with gaming and social features.
- Expensify: Demoed new tools for managers to track and monitor employee spending via "expense reports that don't suck."
- oFlows: Showed its new end-to-end paperless loan-application system.
- Wikinvest: Launched its new Hurricane stock information system to deliver real-time info faster than other outlets.
If you want to be a part of the next event live and in person, save $300 with presale tickets through June 18 here. With two full days of demos, and a few other surprises, you won't want to miss Finovate October 4 and 5 in NYC.
P.S. Finally, companies with amazing new products or services; we need your demo applications by the end of June. Email Eric Mattson for more info.
Here are the news headlines we posted this week on Twitter (follow our feed here).
ThreatMetrix partners with Offerpal Media to stop fraud -- The ThreatMetrix data will give Offerpal additional abilities to identify potentially fraudulent user transactions. http://bit.ly/cerWUY
Peter Pham to leave BillShrink -- Schwark Satyavolu will re-assume the CEO Position. Pham will be leaving BillShrink to join Trinity Ventures as an Entrepreneur in Residence. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE611
iBearSoft releases a video demo of the iBearMoney for iPad -- Money for iPad is a top-selling app in the paid personal finance category in the American iTunes app store. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE613
Lending Club hits $10 mil in monthly originations for first time -- Congratulations to Lending Club on their continued growth! http://bit.ly/Finovate621
mFoundry featured in NY Times -- (6/1/10 p.B1) Article on card-based loyalty programs moving to mobile. http://nyti.ms/cardloyalty
Zecco's CEO Michael Raneri has been named a winner of IDG's 2010 InfoWorld CTO 25 Award -- Zecco is an online brokerage which offers free stock trades and low-cost options trades. http://bit.ly/FINOVATE621
Alpha Clone investment account service has launched -- A clone is a portfolio of stocks based on the stock idea of one or more fund managers. http://bit.ly/aQcBgu
Bling Nation, mobile payments provider, hires Shan Mehta to lead strategic alliances -- Mehta will also be responsible for maintaining and expanding exiting relationships with service partners. http://bit.ly/Finovate631
MoneyStrands adds cash tracking to application -- Cash tracking is now available for MoneyStrands via Web and mobile app. http://bit.ly/finovate641
Seven Finovate alums have received awards recognizing their innovations in the banking and finance
industry, and we'd like to take a moment to congratulate each of
Bank Technology News "Innovators
of the Year"
Bank Technology News recently released
it's ninth annual list of Innovators. This year, of the 20 honored,
four are recent Finovate alums: Intuit, Backbase, Segmint and
CashEdge. For more information see the American Banker Article. Segmint was honored for its pioneering work helping banks get better at one-on-one marketing, Backbase for online
banking widgets, Intuit for online banking and tax-preparation, and
CashEdge for its new POPmoney P2P payment service.
The coveted "Webby"
The "Webby" award, established in
1996, has been called by the New York Times,the highest honor that
the Internet has to offer. Honorees are selected in nearly seventy
categories. Following are this year's winners in the financial
For more about the
Webby Award, see http://www.webbyawards.com/.
Finovate demo video links:
debut was the Spring 2010 show (video coming soon).
CashEdge--The POPmoney demo
video from Finovate2009 is online here.
Intuit--View the company's
Finovate video demo (fall 2009) online here.
Mint--You can see its first
demo video here.
MoneyStrands--View its video
demo from Finovate 2009 online here.
Segmint-- Segmint first
demonstrated its services at FinovateSpring 2010 and the video can be
seen online here.
Wonga--Wonga's Finovate debut
was the FinovateStartup2009 conference. Video is not available.
FinovateFall 2009 alum, Home-Account, the company behind Refinance.com, has launched Mortgage Grade, a free analytic service
to help consumers shop for home loans.
The service is available at
and will be syndicated on other sites including bills.com,
credit.com, consumerunited.com, erate.com, mtgprofessor.com and
Mortgage Grade utilizes existing
information including the user's property address, mortgage amount,
credit score (as provided by the user initially) to generate a letter
grade corresponding to their desirability as a refinance applicant.
Similarly, customers shopping for a new home can receive a grade
indicating what general financing options are likely to be available,
and then match them with lenders.
Mortgage Grade also matches customers
with lenders who fit their "grade." Obtaining an initial score
takes only a few seconds and requires only a few facts that most
users would know readily. However, to get a more thorough grade along
with lender contact information, the process takes a few minutes and
requires a social security number for a soft credit pull.
Users completing the full process
receive detailed information on their mortgage options including their home's
value using the Automated Valuation Model from Lender Processing
Services, estimated closing costs from Closing.com, economic data
from Economy.com, and a free credit check from Experian.
At the end of the process, customers who choose to proceed with one of the quoted loans can lock-in a rate-guaranteed, approved loan within 48 hours by
clicking "rate guaranteed."
The Mortgage Grade is clear and easy to
understand. For existing mortgage customers the grades correspond to
A means the customer already has
the best mortgage available but they'll continue to search and
update you if market conditions make a better option available.
B indicates there are several
options and will offer educational information to help mortgage
B-means FHA-eligible only
C+ indicates that customers may
find manually-underwritten loans which Mortgage Grade can help
C-grade consumers are not eligible
for a mortgage refinance, and are referred to loan modification,
BBB-recommended credit counseling, debt reductions or credit workout
According to company press releases,
Mortgage Grade pledges not to contact customers regarding a new
mortgage unless they request contact, allowing for a more
comfortable, lower-pressure shopping experience.
For more information about Mortgage
Grade see mortgagegrade.com
a demo video is also available online at
For more information about Home-Account, the parent company of MortgageGrade, see the demo video here. You can also see our post from the Netbanker blog here.
Click above for video archives of all demos.
See all Finovate tweets