Growth5 Blog

Friday, August 21, 2009 Raises $14 Million

Have you checked out It's a personal finance site. The "best free way to manage your money" according to their home page. The site will help you pay off credit card debt, understand how to budget, how to invest, buy a car, pay off student loans, save for retirement, spend less eating out and get ready for tax time. The site gets great user ratings.

Mint is an excellent example of a free online service that has the potential to be highly profitable. They just raised $14 million to hire more engineers and make upgrades to the site. A good portion of the capital is expected to be spent on new features surrounding their budgeting services, helping users track and save money.

After an early seed round and the last three rounds of funding, has now raised $31 million since its launch in September 2007.

Mint has 1.4 million users and generates most of its revenue through affiliate deals wherein they promote corresponding financial services products like credit cards. "Tell us how you use your credit cards and we'll find the best card for you." Various Discover, Capital One, and Chase cards are prominently displayed as the cards of choice. How much are these credit cards paying for that sticky promotion? Quite a bit I would imagine.

Another area that Mint will look to produce revenue will be in the selling of anonymous user data. According to this article, "The site claims to be tracking over $175 billion in transactions and $47 billion in assets..." This type of data has great value.

Mint releases quarterly data on the spending trends of its users for free. For example, Mint users' spending had been declining for four straight quarters until 2Q09 showed an uptick. Good news. For a fee, companies can pay for more specific data. As a test of this concept, VentureBeat requested data from Mint comparing how Mint users were spending money at Apple stores vs. Fry's Electronics. You can see the results here. No surprise, Mint users are spending more money with Apple.

As Mint expands their service offerings and increases their marketing budget, they will gain more users. Affiliate deals will be more lucrative and group data will be more reliable and expensive.

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