Mint is a smart, easy-to-use online money management tool. The service is free, setting up an account is simple, and the site requires little user involvement while offering several advantages.
Mint is a useful way to see where your money goes and what your largest expenditures are every month, and it can show you how to budget your personal finances. It can tell you how much debt you have to pay off every month and how much you save, all to give you an accurate, up-to-date and detailed view of your finances. Another big advantage of Mint is that it provides users with suggestions on how to save money by offering lower interest credit cards and higher interest savings accounts, among other alternatives.
A recent review by PC Magazine included Mint in the ‘Best Free Software’ roundup. One of the only drawbacks of this service is that users may be uncomfortable sharing their personal financial information, such as banking and credit card account details. The site, however, does not require names or social security numbers. At sign-in users are asked only for their email addresses, and the site never has direct contact with accounts. The only data coming in is from an account aggregation service – the same one used by Bank of America and Fidelity.
Mint was born out of CEO and founder Aaron Patzer’s personal frustration of not being able to find an easy way to do his monthly budget. Since its public beta version, which was launched in September 2007, Mint has received several awards and recognitions. It was the highest rated ‘Online Personal Finance’ service by PC World and was also one of the ‘Top 25 innovations of 2007’. The company is based in Mountain View, California. By January 2008, less than six months after launch, Mint had signed up over 100,000 members. Mint provides its service free to users but makes its money by referring members to credit card companies, banks and brokerage houses. These institutions in turn provide members with better rates than they’re currently getting.
In October 2006, Mint received $326,000 in seed financing from First Round Capital. A year later, its Series A round of $4.7 million was funded by First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures and individual investors. Its Series B round of $12 million was funded by Benchmark Capital and its previous two investors. The total funding received to date is $17 million. Other similar personal finance startups are Buxfer and Wesabe. According to Compete, in May 2008 Mint’s people count was just under 400,000.
Fortune suggests that Mint’s exit strategy could possibly be in the form of a takeover by Microsoft as part of the latter’s efforts to increase its presence in online services. Indeed, Personal Finance is a major vertical, and if Microsoft chooses to follow a vertical strategy, Mint could be an interesting acquisition.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008