Last year I’d made a prediction about Quicken developing an online version which, a year later, still hasn’t happened. Mint, the startup that just won the TechCrunch 40 competition did hop into this space, and they started by tackling one of the two things I’d highlighted as the most important topics for a startup to handle: automatically connecting to the various financial institutions to download your data.
The second thing I wanted the startup to tackle was importing one’s existing Quicken data, which Mint doesn’t do. It really can’t until it matches Quicken’s feature set to a reasonable extent, which it may never do. I want to do “crazy” things like enter my own transactions to manage cash, and track stocks/investments. Little details like that.
I’m not sure if that’s where Mint is heading, but it certainly could if it wanted to. Coming up with the base infrastructure, data syncing, and the scaling/security around all of that are the hardest parts, I would think. Adding features like the ability to create a cash account, which is just a check register that’s fully editable, are probably not hard. Neither is adding some rudimentary investment tools and growing those features.
I’ve used Quicken consistently for 6-7 years and am perhaps currently spoiled by it’s feature set. A good rule of thumb for whether or not something is a serious competitor to Quicken is whether or not they can tell you your Net Worth. To get an accurate count for that, it would have to include all of your cash accounts (checking/savings/cash in wallet) plus investment accounts (401k/IRA/other investment accounts) plus your liabilities (mortgage/car loans/school loans) plus your assets (car/house/boat/etc). It is becoming clear that building such a feature set is no small feat, and as such there seems to be no end in sight for me as a Quicken user.
My name is Pete Glyman, Co-Founder of Geezeo a free web-based personal finance application. I noticed you were looking to bring in investment accounts into Mint…we launched this feature last week so now our users now have access to all their financial products through Geezeo.
Looks like you’re a pretty solid Quicken user, so it’s probably unlikely that we’ll win you over (depends on your needs) but I’d love for you to check out our site and get your thoughts.
We’re close to rolling out expense tracking and a few other features that should make the site really hum.
Thanks for your time!