Finovate Alumni News– November 8, 2011

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgNetbanker: Credit Karma Launches “Hands Free” Account Aggregation.
  • Kony and CIBC deliver new mobile brokerage application.
  • Ixaris to introduce the Opn Payment Partner.
  • Backbase & Forrester Research to host free webinar Nov 9: ‘Banks Need to Become SUPER.’
  • Everything PR lists BillGuard in the Money category of 2011′s Top 100 Best Startups for PRs.
  • eToro launches mobile HTML 5 App for social trading on the go.
  • SecureKey Technologies Inc. to power the Government of Canada’s new online authentication service.
  • Malta Independent Online looks at Wesabe, Geezeo, and Budgettracker as key online money management tools.
  • BankSimple launches to the public, changes its name to Simple.
  • eToro launches iOS mobile app for on-the-go trading.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni Website Traffic in September

Each month we survey the Web-traffic performance of Finovate alums using data from Web-analytics company Compete.
Out of 268 alumni, 80 had more than 10,000 unique U.S. visitors in September 2011 and are included in the tables below. Of those, 33 (41%) had more visitors in September than August. Year-over-year, 42 (52%) had traffic increases.
Private Companies
  • Seeking Alpha and Cortera had the highest traffic in September with 2.1 and 2.0 million unique visitors, respectively. Cortera also had the highest increase in number of unique year-over-year visits with over 1.5 more visits in 2011 than in 2010.
  • Kabbage had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, up 280x.
  • Weemba saw the highest monthly growth percentage with more than 7.5 times the number of unique visitors in September compared to August.
  • SmartCredit.com had the highest increase in number of unique year-over-year visitors, growing by 126,000.
PrivateWebTrafficSeptember2.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved the week of October 26, 2011
 
1) The previous month recorded was August 2011
2) Sears Credit Score is powered by CreditKarma.com
3) Truaxis was formerly BillShrink
4) Kasasa is powered by BancVue
Public companies
 
  • CheckFree had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, with over 7 times the number of visitors this year than last year.
  • Intuit had a notable increase in number of unique, year-over-year visitors, increasing by 300,000 visits.
  • Check Point had the highest month-over-month percent growth, with 41% more visitors in September than in August.
PublicWebTrafficSeptember2.jpgSource: Compete.com retrieved the week of October 26, 2011

1) The previous month recorded was July 2011.
_______________________________________________________
Notes:
1. We reviewed 268 Finovate alumni. Only those with at least 10,000 unique visitors in July are listed.
3. NM = not measurable
4. t= tie
5. Compete estimates online visitors based on the activity of a panel of more than 2 million U.S. Internet users. It is only an estimate of traffic and may undercount at-work usage.

Finovate Alumni Website Traffic in August

Each month we survey the Web-traffic performance of Finovate alums using data from Web-analytics company Compete
Out of 268 alumni, 75 had more than 10,000 unique U.S. visitors in August 2011 and are included in the tables below. Of those, 41 (55%) had more visitors in August than July. Year-over-year, 45 (60%) had traffic increases.
Private Companies
  • Seeking Alpha — the most-trafficked in August with 2.5 million unique visitors — also had the highest increase in number of unique month-over-month visits with 300,000 more visits in August than in July.
  • Budgettracker.com saw the highest monthly growth percentage with more than 6.5 times the number of unique visitors in August compared to July.
  • Betterment had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, up 88x.
  • Cortera had the highest number of unique year-over-year visitors, growing by 1.5 million. 
August2011PrivateWebTraffic4.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved week of October 3, 2011
1) The previous month recorded was July 2011
2) Truaxis was formerly BillShrink
4) Kasasa is powered by BancVue
5) Checkingfinder.com is powered by BancVue

Public Companies

  • Fiserv had the highest month-over-month percent growth, with 50% more visitors.
  • CheckFree had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, with over 5 times the number of visitors.
  • S1 also had a high percentage growth year-over-year, doubling its visitors.
August2011PublicWebTraffic5.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved the week of October 3, 2011
1) The previous month recorded was July 2011.
_______________________________________________________
Notes:
1. We reviewed 268 Finovate alumni. Only those with at least 10,000 unique visitors in July are listed. 
3. NM = Not measurable
4. t= Tie
5. Compete estimates online visitors based on the activity of a panel of more than 2 million U.S. Internet users. It is only an estimate of traffic and may undercount at-work usage.

Finovate Alumni Website Traffic in July

Each month we survey the Web-traffic performance of Finovate alums using data from Web-analytics company Compete
Out of 255 alumni, 59 (23%) had more than 10,000 unique U.S. visitors in July 2011 (see tables below). Of those, 19 (32%) had more visitors than in the previous month and 25 (42%) were flat. Year-over-year, 26 (44%) had an increase, 10 (17%) were flat, and 23 (39%) were down. 

Private Companies
Notable successes:
  • Seeking Alpha had the most traffic in July with more than 2 million unique visitors.
  • eToro saw the highest monthly growth percentage with 3 times the number of unique visitors in July compared to June.
  • Bundle had the highest increase in number of unique month-over-month visits, with 450,000 more visitors in July than in June.
  • eRollover had the highest percent year-over-year traffic increase, with 260,000 more visitors from last July. 
JulyWebTrafficPrivate6.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved week of August 15, 2011
1. The previous month recorded was May 2011
2. Sears Credit Score is powered by CreditKarma.com
3. Kasasa is powered by BancVue
Public Companies
Notable successes:
  • PayPal had the highest number of U.S. visitors in July, with more than 30 million visitors.
  • Jack Henry & Associates saw the highest monthly growth with twice as many visitors in July than June.
  • Wipro Technologies had the highest year-over-year growth, with 3 times as many visitors this year compared to last year.
  • FIS Global and Online Resources also doubled their traffic compared to last year. 
JulyWebTrafficPublic4.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved the week of August 15, 2011
1. The previous month recorded was May 2011.
_______________________________________________________
Notes:
1. We reviewed 255 Finovate alumni. Only those with at least 10,000 unique visitors in July are listed. 
3. NM = Not measurable
4. Compete estimates online visitors based on the activity of a panel of more than 2 million U.S. Internet users. It is only an estimate of traffic and may undercount at-work usage.

PayPal and Cortera Take Charge in May’s Web Traffic

Each month we survey the Web-traffic performance of our alums, using data from Web-analytics company Compete to review the sites they operate. 

Out of 255 alumni, 62 (24%) had more than 10,000 unique U.S. visitors in May 2011 (see tables below). Of the 62 reviewed, 25 (40%) had fewer visitors than in the previous month and 28 (45%) saw a decline year-over-year.

Private Companies
The 44 private companies are as follows:

Notable successes:

  • Cortera saw the highest number of unique U.S. visitors in May, with almost 2 million hits.
  • HelloWallet experienced the greatest month-over-month growth, with more than four times as many visitors.
  • Betterment saw its traffic increase an impressive 38 times from May of last year.

Private Finovate Alumni With More Than 10,000 Unique Visitors in May 2011

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for May2011PrivateWebTraffic.jpg





Source: Compete.com retrieved June 29, 2011

Public Companies
The 18 public companies are as follows:

Notable successes:

  • PayPal experienced the highest number of U.S. visitors in May, with over 32 million visitors.
  • TransUnion Interactive saw the highest month-over-month growth with more than two times the number of visitors in May than in April.
  • Sybase 365 experienced the highest year-over-year growth, with its traffic up almost 80% from last year.

Public Finovate Alumni With More Than 10,000 Unique Visitors in May 2011 

May2011PublicWebTraffic.jpg

Source: Compete.com retrieved June 29, 2011

_____________________________________________________________________________

Notes:

1. We reviewed 255 unique sites. Data was unavailable or irrelevant for 201 sites because: 

  • They had been acquired.
  • They were no longer available online.
  • They were not covered by Compete for various reasons (including some that were not U.S. domestic companies).
  • The number of unique visits was too small to be considered accurate.
  • They were subdomains of larger websites.

2. Numbers have been rounded to three significant digits.

3. The charts include companies that did not have measurable traffic in May 2011, indicated by “N/A.”

4. Compete draws its information from the online activity of a panel of more than 2 million U.S. Internet users. It is only an estimate of traffic, and may undercount at-work usage.

Online Financial Management Pioneer Wesabe to Shutter its PFM Functions, Open Source its Code

image I’m sorry to see that Wesabe has thrown in the towel and will shutter the financial management portion of its website, leaving just the online forums intact. Customers have until July 31 to export their financial data stored at the company.

I have been a long-time fan and have been inspired by founders Jason Knight and Marc Hedlund. The company was the first VC-funded player in the online PFM space, beating Mint to market by a good nine months back in 2006. We’ve written about them in Netbanker and Online Banking Report, and they presented on stage at our first FinovateStartup (2008 video). 

Wesabe’s been pretty quiet this year and traffic has been on the decline, but it’s still a respectable 40,000 uniques per month (see below). I was hoping they would soon be announcing a new round of funding, but obviously that didn’t come through. But I am somewhat surprised no other PFM player stepped in to purchase the assets, especially given Mint’s $170 million exit nine months ago (note 1). I’m afraid it’s a sign that the standalone OFM space is struggling.

image
Source: Compete, June 30, 2010

It also illustrates the point we’ve been making for a long time: The first hurdle for market acceptance is trust. And it’s difficult for a non-bank financial management startup to earn enough trust from enough people fast enough to survive. Mint proved that it can happen, but most OFM players will need to partner with banks and credit unions to overcome the trust barrier.

Still, the Wesabe case is surprising. Well into its fourth year, with a solid track record, a core group of fans, some cool technology, and a straightforward white-labeling model, it seemed the company had made it far enough down the trust curve to be one of the survivors. But in a Wesabe groups discussion forum a few hours ago, CEO Hedlund gave a pessimistic assessment of the company’s revenue outlook. In response to several posts from members saying they’d gladly pay a subscription fee to keep the company afloat, he said:image

One interesting side note, Wesabe says it will open source some of the code base, so users can continue to operate the service on their own computers. That may create opportunities for scrappy entrepreneurs to build something from the ashes of Wesabe, a fitting tribute to the PFM pioneer.

Wesabe homepage (30 June 2010)

image

Notes:
1. Wesabe was philosophically opposed to taking outside advertising, figuring that it was not in their users’ best interests, so the ad-sponsored biz model used by Mint was probably not on the table.
2. For more on the OFM/PFM market, see our latest Online Banking Report.

Welcome to Wesabe, a new NetBanker.com Sponsor

WesabeLogo.gif

We’re pleased to welcome Wesabe as a new sponsor of NetBanker.

Wesabe is, in their own words, “a community of real people dealing with real money issues.”

They describe themselves as building “easy-to-use, Web-based software” that “gives members a better
understanding of how they spend money” plus the “Wesabe community shares tips
and advice to help each other make better financial decisions.”

Wesabe is currently promoting introductory pricing on their new Wesabe Springboard product which is “designed specifically for
banks and credit unions that want to add personal finance
management (PFM) tools to their online
banking sites.” It includes features like online signup, instant availability, and easy integration.

Please consider checking out Wesabe Springboard if you’re interested (you can also watch their demo video of it from the spring 2009 Finovate conference here).  

Thanks! Now back to our usual blogging.


ericphoto.jpgEric Mattson is CEO of Online Financial Innovations, the parent company of NetBanker, Online Banking Report and the Finovate Conference Series. He can be reached at eric@netbanker.com.

Wesabe to Power Bank and Credit Union Personal Finance Communities with White-label Deals

image Today, Wesabe (company blog post) joined Geezeo (press release) in officially pursuing a strategy of white-labeling its personal finance services for banks and credit unions (note 1). Wesabe CEO Marc Hedlund told me they have three deals in various stages of the contract process, but none have signed on the dotted line yet.

You can get an idea of how this will play out by visiting Wesabe’s first co-branded site at the UK’s Daily Telegraph (see screenshot below). However, in the banking rollout, the service can truly be white labeled with no mention of the Wesabe name. Wesabe provided a mockup of its white-label product for the fictitious Springboard Bank (see second screenshot below).

As much as I love online PFM sites, the future for most financial management activity is within the confines of online banking sites (note 2). Why? Most people do NOT enjoy tagging purchases, tracking their budget, monitoring their net worth in real-time, or debating the latte factor.

Banking, like most chores, needs to be accomplished as efficiently as possible. And the easiest way to track financial activity is at the place the customer already knows, trusts, and uses, their online banking site (note 3). 

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for Mint, Quicken and other PFM sites. Millions of consumers and small businesses pay close attention to every transaction. And they’ll invest time, and money, into standalone sites that offer state-of-the art tools and independent perspectives.    

But by partnering with full-featured PFMs like Wesabe, banks and credit unions give customers little reason to look elsewhere. Wesabe is particularly well-suited for the role of financial institution service provider (note 4):

  • Technology: It owns the aggregation engine, so they have more flexibility in pricing and contract negotiations
  • API: Wesabe has featured a public API since 2007, so it’s easier for bank developers to hook into its rich dataset
  • Features: Has state-of-the-art user interface including a Twitter interface, widgets for Mac and Windows Vista, an iPhone-optimized site, and soon an iPhone app
  • Brand: It has taken the high road….positioning the Wesabe brand as an unbiased financial guide; in fact, they’ve never taken advertising or commissions from financial providers
  • Experience: Launching in 2006, they have been around longer than most other players, giving them credibility and a better longitudinal database
  • Traffic: Of independent PFM sites (see Jan. traffic here), Wesabe trails only Mint and Geezeo in monthly traffic (120,000 unique visitors in Feb according to Compete), so it brings an established community and financial database to their financial institution clients

Make vs. buy
For a financial institution, the advantage of working with Wesabe vs. building PFM capabilities in-house include:

  • Speed to market: Outsourcing allows FIs to get the PFM features in to the market much faster; depending on level of integration, could launch in a few months
  • Integration: Although young, Wesabe is an experienced aggregator and technology company; this expertise can be tapped to provide integrate bill payment and funds transfer capabilities
  • Existing community: FIs can leverage the vibrant Wesabe community to instantly provide interesting content and community
  • Cost savings: Gives the financial institution state-of-the-art features much faster, and usually at a lower cost, than building them in-house

Wesabe’s co-branded site at UK’s Daily Telegraph (link) (18 March 2009)

image

Wesabe mock-up of white-labeled PFM interface (18 March 2009)

image

Notes:
1. Wesabe’s new service is called Springboard and Geezeo’s is Spectrum.
2. Assuming banks and credit unions offer a reasonable set of personal finance management tools.
3. For more info, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features for Online Banking and Online Banking Report on Social Personal Finance.
4. Geezeo also boasts similar benefits; while it’s a year younger and doesn’t own the aggregation engine, its provider, CashEdge is already used and trusted by many large financial institutions, and Geezeo boasts higher traffic than Wesabe. 
5. Come talk to Wesabe’s execs at our FinovateStartup 2009 conference, April 28 in San Francisco.

Will the Online Personal Finance Specialists Survive?

image I love personal financial management websites. Not so much for the reality, actually I hate tracking expenses, but for the promise. The illusion of having everything under control, never overdrafting, never missing a payment, and with perfectly-shaded multi-color pie charts just a click away (inset from Mint). 

But I’ve always thought that once banks and credit unions added basic PFM functions to their online banking services (see note 1), it’s game-over for most independent PFM sites. They would have to either license their platform to financial institutions, sell out, or close their doors.

Now I’m not so sure.

Mint did something recently that made me reconsider. It was really pretty simple when you think about it. Yet as far as I know, no bank, card issuer, or even credit union has ever taken this on. 

The Mountain View, CA-based startup scanned their members’ credit card statements to identify bogus charges from a known scam. And the company plans to make the resulting fraud alert service a standard part of its offering.  

From American Banker (23 Jan 2009):

Mint Software Inc. is planning to roll out a tool that will automatically scan its 800,000 users’ accounts for potentially bogus charges….Aaron Patzer, Mint’s founder and chief executive, said the idea for the new product came after his company heard of a scam involving Adele Services of Melville, N.Y., a bogus merchant that was making 25-cent charges to millions of consumer accounts. The news was widely reported, and Mint decided to check its users’ accounts its to see if any had been affected; it found 800 that were.

Score 1 for the upstarts.

Bottom line: If the online PFM purveyors harness technology to take better care of banking customers than the banks themselves, especially with practical, money-saving ways such as Wesabe’s Cutback Tool (below), the newcomers have a bright future indeed.

image

Note: For more info, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features for Online Banking.

Online Personal Finance Traffic Soars; Mint Passes One Million Unique Visitors

imageJanuary is always a great month for personal finance. Consumers working off holiday spending binges and/or attempting to live up to New Years resolutions naturally find their way to personal financial management sites. It’s especially pronounced this year as consumers try to better understand their spending and manage for the downturn.

So it’s not surprising to see that traffic grew by 300,000 unique visitors in January (+20%) compared to December. Total traffic was up 4.5-fold at sites open for a year or more (see Table 1). Including the class of 2008, total traffic was 2.0 million, a five-fold increase from a year ago.

Highlights:

  • Mint had another great month, increasing site visitors by about 200,000, a five-fold increase in the past year. Mint’s gain in January was more than that total traffic of all nine 2008 newcomers combined. Mint had a 60% market share of the total of 1.8 million visitors in the category, about the same as December.  image
  • Geezeo continued its wicked pace, growing 30% during the month, and posting a 12-fold increase over a year ago.
  • Quicken Online, which launched in January 2008, more than doubled visitors to 150,000 compared to December. However, traffic at Quicken is hard to compare to other sites due to the massive traffic at its parent site: for example, <quicken.intuit.com> received 1.2 million visitors and <intuit.com> website had more than 10 million. 
  • image Wesabe was the only site, of those open for a year or more, that turned in a traffic decline, falling more than 30% in the month. However, keep in mind the Compete estimates are derived from an online panel and are not always accurate, especially for sites in the low six-figures or less. The company said that it had record page views in January. That includes both U.S. traffic, measured by Compete, and international visitors.
  • BudgetTracker also turned in amazing results, nearly doubling its traffic to an imageestimated 27,000 visitors.
  • Of the 2008 startups (see Table 2), Thrive was the only one showing strong growth, increasing 50% over the previous month. On Friday the company was acquired by Lending Tree for an undisclosed amount.

Table 1: Traffic at online PFMs launched more than one year ago

  Jan 2009 Dec 2008 Jan 2008 YOY Chg
Mint 1.1 mil 890,000 200,000 5.2x
Geezeo 220,000 170,000 18,000 12x
Yodlee 120,000 100,000 84,000 44%
Finicity/Mvelopes 100,000 71,000 91,000 10%
Wesabe 89,000 140,000 56,000 60%
BudgetTracker 27,000 14,000 15,000 86%
Buxfer 22,000 15,000 13,000 78%
PearBudget 12,000 7,600 4,200 3x
ClearCheckbook
BudgetPulse
11,000
8,200
9,100
4,300
4,600
2,200
2.3x
3.6x
Total 1.7 mil 1.4 mil 490,000 4.5x

Table 2: Traffic at the online PFM class of 2008

  Jan 2009 Dec 2008 Month Chg
Quicken Online 150,000 53,0
00
1.8x
PNC Virtual Wallet 41,000 45,000 (9%)
Rudder 39,000 61,000 (35%)
Thrive 21,000 14,000 52%
Scred 2,600 630 4x
Expensr 2,500 3,700 (32%)
RateSurfer 2,100 3,600 (41%)
Expensify 1,400 600 2.5x
Banzai 1,300 1,500 (15%)
GreenSherpa 400 ina
iThryv 210 2,100 (90%)
Total 260,000 185,000 41%

Source: Compete, 7 Feb. 2009; estimates of monthly unique visitors from the United States

*The percent changes were calculated from the underlying data set and due to rounding of the monthly traffic figures; the percentages may look slightly off

Note: For more information on the market, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features and Online Banking Report on Social Personal Finance.