There’s no shortage of services trying to drive traditional financial planners into extinction. Think Wealthfront, Personal Capital, Betterment and Intuit-owned Mint.com, among them.
Today, another company personal finance tools company is publicly joining the fray: aboutLife, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based, eight-person startup that quietly raised $3 million in Series A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers some time ago.
Founder and CEO Rajat Kongovi — a former project leader at Boston Consulting Group who later served as COO of the social network hi5 — says he decided to create the company after having his second daughter a few years ago.
As he tells it, like 86 percent of Americans, he “had all these financial tasks I hadn’t sorted out: life insurance, college funds, how to save for retirement.” He says he used both Mint and Wealthfront but that it still took him two weeks to put together a picture of his competing goals. He adds that once he did (via Excel spreadsheet), it was something his friends asked to borrow, so he decided to “create a service that puts this together for free.”
Indeed, unlike many current services that charge users a percentage of assets under management, aboutLife’s business model centers on referrals. It will charge a fee, say, to a mutual fund company every time aboutLife sends a potential customer its way.
The company doesn’t have many such fund options yet; it’s not a priority, says Kongovi, explaining that the idea over time is to help get users into whatever savings accounts and mutual fund plans they’re asking that the platform include.
Right now, aboutLife is far more focused on helping its users create financial plans quickly and easily, based on data analysis that creates a picture of a person based on a series of questions about him or her that build on each other.
Asked how it plans to keep those users engaged, Kongovi say aboutLife is targeting a certain demographic – 40- and 50-year-olds – that tends to “always have some sort of life event or something happening economically,” says Kongovi.
“For them,” he notes, “whether it’s a kid who returns from college or taking care of their parents, things can change once a quarter.”