If navigating the murky waters of credit scores and debt leaves you scratching your head and wishing someone would just tell you what to do, you’re in luck. Credit Sesame is a new startup launching in private beta today at TechCrunch Disrupt that’s looking to help do just that — give the site access to your financial data, and it will present you with a handful of options, along with bulletpoints explaining why they work for you. If you’d like to try the site out for yourself, head to CreditSesame.com/TechCrunch and use the password OpenSesame.
Credit Sesame doesn’t take long to set up — the company says it takes a couple of minutes — but it does require sensitive information including your social security number (which the site needs in order to access your credit history). That may make some users wary, but the site is aware of potential privacy and security issues, and has a FAQ that talks about how it protects your data here.
Once you’ve entered your information, the site will visualize key data like your credit and debt (it’s clearly taking some design cues from BillShrink and Mint’s pretty graphs). It will also offer recommendations for how you can save money — the company says it analyzes thousands of financial products to determine which are the best fit for each user, and Credit Sesame says it saves an average home owner up to $600 per month. Proposals are based on pre-qualified loans, and Credit Sesame says that it uses the “same pricing engine that top banks use” to find those products.
GT: I get consume value proposition. How are you going to compete with and what’s your advantage vs. Mint, BillShrink, etc.
A: Companies out there like Mint do a great job helping with finances. But what really helps.. most companies lack ingredients. One is consumer intelligence. Second is product intelligence. Our core competence is product intelligence. Analytics that brings it all together.
SP: I think it’s well designed. Hard to get distribution. Broader questions that founders here need to ask themselves: why am I founding a company in the first place. Might be that you want financial independence, build lifestyle business. Third reason which is bad: you think you’ve spent your career in Silicon Valley and highest level status is to be a founder. The founders who fall into first two categories, sometimes lifestyle businesses become incredible industries. Founders see a problem that desperately needs solving. Third class doesn’t usually succeed. I think everyone needs to ask which they are. Not saying you guys are the third.
A: I’m a serial entrepreneur. I sold to a lot of banks and had a good exit. I noticed that banks are great, but their objectives aren’t aligned with consumer’s best interest. When consumers go to a lot branches, they want to know if they should be worried, if there is something they should do different. And the answers they get aren’t sufficient.
VR: What is the user experience. How much info do I need to give to get started. WIth recommendations, how hard is it to do those?
A: Takes two minutes, answer 5-6 questions. Once you enter information we aggregate everything. We refresh that data for you. Our system knows enough about the client/market that if an opportunity arises we’ll present the option and the system can do it for them.