It's All About the Money, Honey!
By Blessy Mathew Prasad | Published: 12th September 2015 01:00 PM |
Remembering how much we're carrying in our wallets is tough enough. Keeping a tab on how much we have in various accounts and where the 'stash' suddenly disappeared to can be one of those near-impossible tasks. That's where an app like Money View can make all the difference. Developed by Sanjay Aggarwal and Puneet Agarwal, who "met during house hunting after our IIT Delhi college days," the app is all about getting people to take control of their finances. "If you look back, in our parents’ generation, people earned less. Not many people took loans early in their lives and significant chunk of people had retirement benefits. Times have changedThey now have associations with multiple financial institutions - banks accounts, credit cards, investments, loans, etc. but spend less time in managing their finances. With Money View its all done with zero effort. Money View picks up all the financial SMSes from banks and puts together a very accurate picture of your financials. Of course we do not read the OPTs and Passwords and none of your personal SMSes. And we do not ask for your full bank account ids and passwords," explains Sanjay, who co-founded the app in early 2014.
From a bootstrapped beta version to a stage where venture capitalists are quite happy to roll with them, Money View seems to have their eye on the ball. "User response to Money View app has been so good that frankly even we were shocked. The app crossed the 1 million downloads mark in less than 6 months and has been among the top 3 Finance Apps in the Google app ranking list for the last 3 months and has nearly 30 thousand user ratings/comments. We get tons of feedback through the Google Play store and every single query is responded to and every user issue is resolved as quickly as possible. In fact, we typically start our days reading user comments and feedback and that sets the tone for the day. We often connect with our users, call them and sometimes invite them to our office to discuss their feedback and understand their requirements and suggestions," he tells us via mail.
But this is merely the beginning. With the kind of quick consolidation they've achieved, their eyes are set on Everest, in financial app land. "This is only the beginning of the road for us – we're going to make people more aware of their finances and give them control. As people start becoming more aware the next steps will become more obvious. In the times to come, we want to become the trusted financial advisor of our users - helping them, guiding them, nudging them at the right time to take the right financial decisions," he explains.
They get talking about what drove them to make the app.
1. How did you come up with the idea for the app?
Puneet spent close to 17 years in the US mainly in the financial space and decided to return to India last year after having worked with companies like Google (Google Wallet), McKinsey and Capital One.
At the same time, Sanjay was moving out of his earlier start-up, Mingle Box and looking for the next big opportunity.
We were hoping to venture out and start something new. It was during this time that we met during house hunting after our IIT Delhi college days. Our passion for technology and shared enthusiasm about mobile as a channel in India brought us together and looking at the existing gaps and lack of technology driven innovations in the financial services sector we decided to embark upon this journey - we started a company with an objective of Empowering People to take Control of their Finances.
People also have associations with multiple financial institutions - banks accounts, credit cards, investments, loans, etc. People are also taking loans earlier in their life. And hence the need to stay on top of your finances is higher but contrary to the older times, people spend less time in managing their finances and the fact is that it has also become more difficult to do it since you have a collate data from multiple sources.
This is where we come in with our App Money View. With money view managing your finances is simple, smart and secure. And with zero effort. What our users say is that – “What this app does is nothing short of magic - it just works by itself”. Money View picks up all the financial SMSes from all your banking relationships and puts together a very accurate picture of your financials. Of course we do not read the OPTs and Passwords and none of your personal SMSes. And we do not ask for your full bank account ids and passwords.
Money View was started in early 2014 with our first beta rollout in mid September 2014 and a general availability in Oct-Nov 2014. We quickly crossed the million users mark and are currently growing strong.
2. How much did you have in hand when you started off? Was it a struggle to get it off the ground? When did you get your big break?
The two of us bootstrapped Money View and the first version of the app was built by just us. Just before the launch we started building the team and we are currently a 25-member team. Money View’s proposition hit a chord with the users very early on and we started seeing rapid adoption of our App. We wanted to build a customer centric company and kept a very strong focus on customer service – what they were saying, which features were a hit and which were a miss and constantly engaged with our users to improve the product and offerings. Both of us have worked with startups in the past and we leveraged all our past experiences to pull off a successful launch.
We are excited that we got our Series A funding from tier 1 VCs in the first year of our engagement from Tiger Global, Accel India and Ribbit Capital, around March-April time frame of this year.
3. What is unique about this app?
There have been many apps around in the Personal Finance space. These can be divided into two categories –
• One that ask you to enter all the financial data – user has to add all the transactions, accounts, balances, etc. on a regular basis to create a view of their finances.
• Other that asks you to link your bank accounts by providing the user id and password – these apps then scrape your transaction data from your bank web site and then put together a view.
Money View is a new category of app – it’s Simple, Smart and Secure
1. Simple: It works by itself – no manual data entry and no bank account and passwords to enter. Money View picks up the financial SMSes from banks and billers and collates all the data to put together a very accurate view of your finances. This makes the app extremely simple to use – anyone can use it.
2. Smart: Money View app provides the users an ability to contain their monthly spends within a budget and stay on top of your bills. The app has smart alerts to remind the users when a bill is due and also allows them to effortlessly make bill payments right through the app. It also alerts the users when they are close to exhausting their monthly budgets. Money View behaves like a Personal Financial Assistant of the users that is out there to watch out for them and help them stay financially fit.
3. Secure: Money View app does NOT read any personal messages or OTP/Password messages sent by the banks. The app does not even have the full account ids of any of the bank accounts (only the last 4 digits). Moreover the app does not ask for any personal information from the users apart from an email id. Ur systems our designed to take utmost care of users privacy. We use bank level encryption to ensure that the data privacy is never compromised.
5. Whom do you consider your competitors in India or abroad?
As I said earlier, there have been many products in the market for personal finance (mostly as expense trackers) – Gullak, MyUniverse, Expense Manager, etc. in India and Mint in the US. Money View has changed the paradigm completely by automating the expense tracking part and taking the product to the next level by empowering the users to take control of their finances and become financially fit. We believe that the India opportunity is very large and we will stay focussed on India market.
4. What has the response been like from customers? How do you feel about it?
User response to Money View app has been so good that frankly even we were shocked. The app crossed the 1 million downloads mark in less than 6 months since the launch. Money View has been among the top 3 Finance Apps in the Google app ranking list for the last 3 months and has nearly 30 thousand user ratings/comments.
We feel very good about the huge adoption and stay focused on adding real value to our users through this app. From very early days we set up a consumer centric approach within the company. Our product and technology roadmap is completely aligned with what users are saying about the product and what they are asking for. We get tons of feedback through the Google Play store and firstname.lastname@example.org email id. Every single query is responded and every user issue is resolved as quickly as possible. In fact, we typically start our days reading user comments and feedback and that sets the tone for the day. We often connect with our users, call them on phone, sometimes invite them to our office to discuss their feedback and understand their requirements and suggestions.
5. What are your plans for the future of the app?
Money View app’s starting goal was to make people more aware of their finances. The app currently has 3 main parts:
• Where is your money?
It identifies all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments accounts and the latest balance details. It also puts together the detailed monthly statement of all the accounts. This gives the users a quick access to "How much money do I have?". No need to log into the bank account - its accessible anytime, anywhere without any data connectivity.
• Where are you spending your money?
We have over a million merchants categorised and geo tagged. This means whenever you spend money at a retail outlet or online merchant, we will categorise that spend automatically. e.g. If you go to Coffee Day and spend Rs. 200 on coffee and snacks, we will automatically categorise that spend of Rs 200 as Coffee/Eating out. (of course the highly motivated users can create there own categories and call it whatever they want) So out of the box, users see their spend nicely categorised into meaning groups/buckets. This helps in identifying high spend categories where there is a potential to cut back and save.
We also have a budget feature that allows users to keep track of how much money do they have left to spend in the current month. This is a very useful number that our users have started checking before making any purchase or spend. We also provide timely alerts to make sure the users are aware of how close they are to exhausting their budget.
• What bills do you have and when are they due?
Money View also reads SMSes from all your billers and puts together a list of bills that you have to pay on a periodic basis (typically monthly or bi-monthly). With the exact due dates, amounts due and in some cases more details of the biller account Money View is increasingly becoming THE place to manage all your bills and get timely reminders that you can act on. With our unique bill payment solution which makes the bill payment process as easy as 123, users can ensure that they never miss any payment.
This is only the beginning of the road for us – make people more aware of their finances and give them control. As people start becoming more aware the next steps will become more obvious. In the times to come, we want to become the trusted financial advisor of our users - helping them, guiding them, nudging them at the right time to take the right financial decisions. The following 3 ares are where we will focus in the months to come:
• How to save more
• How to make your money grow faster without any additional risks
• When to take loans and how to manage them better