Now more than ever, personal finance education and help is crucial to anyone’s financial health. Mint.com, a former TechCrunch 40 company who won the top prize at the conference, has grown incredibly since its launch and was recently acquired by Intuit for $170 million. TechCrunch50 startup LearnVest is serving a different purpose when it comes to online finances; the startup focuses on helping users, particularly women, organize their finances and learn how to become financially savvy. It’s kind of like the online version of financial planner Suze Orman.
When you first log in to LearnVest, the site will ask you a series of questions about your financial health (i.e. how much credit card debt do you have), you life stages (i.e. do you rent, are you planning a family soon, do you own a house) and your financial education level (i.e. have you checked your credit score lately). LearnVest will use all this information to diagnose your financial health and education level and will then give you a snapshot of what you need to learn and improve.
LearnVest will then give you a customized plan of things you need to do to do and read via a checklist. Sort of like a cheat sheet, the checklist will help you navigate a range of issues such as getting out of credit card debt, budgeting for a wedding, buying a house and much more. As you complete the tasks on the list, you check off each box and earn points for your improvements. Points will give you status in LearnVest’s community and you can eventually trade in points for rewards.
As you keep logging on to LearnVest, the site will be completely customized for your financial profile, providing you with news articles that relate to your specific financial goals. LearnVest also aims to be a social community of sorts, where users can ask questions on discussion forums to other users and to experts as well, although I’m not sure how many women will want to share their financial woes with others.
Expert Panel Q&A (paraphrased)
The experts: Satish Dharmaraj, Lior Zorea, Bradley Horowitz, Tim O’Reilly, Kevin Rose
BH: This didn’t resonate with me. I don’t know any one who wants to do gaming on this site.
KR: I don’t think people will want to admit to debt with a profile.
A: we are going after targeted audience, there’s no resource online for financial advice. financial services online for women is a huge market and need.
LZ: I like the financial education part of this. I think it will be hard to get people to stay.
A: You can open accounts through us, you can execute as well. We are learning from uur user’s behavior. Currently, there is no one helping women forecast their financial future. LearnVest stops this problem.
TC50: LearnVest walks users through life’s financial milestones VentureBeat.
TechCrunch50: Women get short shrift LA Times.