I first heard about Mint, an online personal finance application, nearly a year ago when it was named “Best Presenting Company” at TechCrunch 40.
This fall, Mint will be celebrating their one year anniversary, coming
out of beta and rolling out a more robust investment management section
on the site.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Aaron Patzer, the
founder and CEO of Mint. He told me how he got started with Mint and he
also presented the features of the site. Aaron Patzer’s background is
more techie than financial. He started in web development while still a
teenager and graduate from Duke University with a degree in
engineering. Always concerned with both his business and personal
finances, he had used Quicken and Microsoft Money to manage his
account, but he grew frustrated with how much time he had to spend
weekly updating his accounts. Aaron decided to develop a efficient
solution for managing your money. By creating Mint, he not only help himself, but others who struggled to keep up with their money.
Mint is a quick and easy way to have all of your accounts (bank,
credit cards, student loans, 401Ks, and investments) in one place so
you can see what is going on with your money. You can add as many accounts as you want. The dashboard of accounts gives you an overview of all your
accounts that you have added to your Mint, so the more information you
give, the more it can help you manage your finances. In the “Trends” section
of Mint, there are pie charts and graphs that actually give you visual
to see if you are saving more than you are spending, and where your
money is being spent.
The “Ways To Save” section of Mint advises you on how to save
money. It is kinda like a “Consumer Reports 2.0″ since it gives
personalized comparisons based on your spending habits.
Aaron demonstrated the new features of the investment section
(rolling out this fall) which can show how your investments (401(K),
mutual funds, etrade, etc.) are doing. It can so highlight the
“hidden maintenance fees” and compare funds so that you can make an
informed decision on whether to change the mix of your investment
I asked about Mint’s reporting features, and Aaron showed me that
transactions can be exported into a .csv file which can uploaded into
Excel. Many of the 400,000 users of Mint use it mainly for personal
finances. However, some professionals use Mint to track reimbursable
expenses for their expense reports, and some entrepreneurs use Mint to
track business expenses.
Mint is free, so what is their revenue model? Instead of the usual
online ad revenue, Mint has developed affiliations with several
financial service companies and Mint’s revenue will be from lead
generation from recommendations of the financial services’ product