August 19, 2015
Mike Bertrand lives what he would call a quintessentially busy life, and with his parents getting older and kids growing up I’d tend to agree. He also lives the life of an accomplished entrepreneur. He sold his last venture to Intuit before taking the summer of 2012 off to relax a bit.
During his down time Bertrand decided to build out a payment platform that integrated Payment Service Network (PSN) solutions. The problem that kept hitting him in the face was that none of these solutions would work properly.
As he dug into the issues there were small pieces of the puzzle that began to fall into place, which is when he had an epiphany of sorts. That is, Bertrand realized none of the existing PSN services were looking at the market from his point of view, from the view of a busy household.
It was something that kept plaguing his mind, so he went around and interviewed people, researchers, and US households to find out just how deep this problem went: talk about taking some time off. He followed people into their homes and saw the same situation he was dealing with, but more importantly he noticed that a lot of payments were slipping through the cracks.
Still, he took his investigation further and saw that while over $100 billion was slipping through the cracks the banks weren’t motivated to fix the issue. Why? This was a source of revenue for them.
“This is the only industry where my data isn’t being used to my advantage. In fact, it’s being used in predatory ways to my disadvantage to hold up a broken system,” says Bertrand.
All of this research brought to mind one, final question: who doesn’t have to deal with this issue? It’s a two-fold answer. On one hand the very wealthy individual who can hire a financial assistant won’t have to deal with this problem. On the other hand corporate enterprises can source out to dozens of vendors and don’t have to worry about it.
“Nobody can implement these systems in their household though. You have tons of vendor relationships – like bills – with no way to leverage your data, and the information can be overwhelming,” Bertrand explains.
So, Bertrand went back to the lab and built out the first iteration of MoneyStream. Everything he put into it was geared towards helping the average, everyday person organize their bills and manage their cash from a central hub.
It’s much more than just an organizer or bill-pay platform though. MoneyStream actually brings everything together to show you a future view of your current finances so you can see where you stand and where you’re going.
Bertrand specifically designed this with the busy household in mind so, even if you don’t have time for bills, MoneyStream can analyze your spending via access to your bank account data and put it to actionable use. It automatically finds your bills and then puts them on a calendar so you don’t have to fret with it, but you’re also still in control.
Not to mention Bertrand built in a cognitive thinking element to MoneyStream so that the platform can anticipate your needs, follow detailed instructions, and make sure everything is handled according to plan. The integration actually makes MoneyStream smarter over time as it learns your processes.
“About 45 percent of our users completely eradicate their late fees when they sign up with MoneyStream,” says Bertrand. “We surface the information with just enough value for people to take action, and after 120 days of use, 70 percent of our users remain monthly actives because of it.”
It gets interesting when you consider who the competition is for MoneyStream. There’s no real entity or company, like Mint, that they feel competes with them. Rather, it’s what Bertrand labels the non-consumption. That is, MoneyStream directly competes with the calendar on your refrigerator, so to speak.
“You’ve got an inundation of people with true non-consumption,” says Bertrand. “Can we come into their lives and provide frictionless value? It’s all about helping the end user better their life with their financial data.”
Truly, the MoneyStream crew is all about durable, long term happiness for their customers over quick conversions. And a big part of ensuring that happiness is guaranteeing the safety of the user’s private financial data. To that end Bertrand built in military grade security for peace of mind.
“You can go out and use peoples’ data to make money, but I want to use peoples’ data to their benefit, and nobody else does,” says Bertrand. “That’s the product I wanted, personally. It’s social good for finances, in a sense.”
Image Credit: Pixabay
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!