大約10年前，美國首個個人理財（Personal Financial Management，PFM）應用程式 Mint面世，令單調無聊但至關重要的事情，如個人財富管理、追踪及預算變得有趣。更重要的是，Mint是一個免費的手機應用程式。
Mint的出現在當時十分轟動，它在短短兩年間內已吸納了150萬名用戶，其後更被數據整合公司Intuit以1.7億美元收購。不久之後，其創辦團隊的成員相繼離開，並以個人名義成名，其中包括500 Startups的創始人Dave Mcclure。
美國 — 成熟的個人理財App市場
在推出Clarity Money時，其創辦人Adam Dell 指因Mint功能不夠多元化，所以才銳意開發Clarity Money。這顯然是大部份人的想法，因為Clarity Money在推出的短短5個月內就吸引了10萬名用戶，並獲得了1,100萬美元的B輪融資。而Clarity Money並不是唯一一間挑戰Mint地位的初創企業，同時期還有Personal Capital、Toshl Finance和MoneyLion。
歐洲— 領先全球的「開放銀行」（Opening Banking）
放眼歐洲，消費者漸漸開始積極管理他們的財務生活。最新的歐洲支付服務指令（PSD2）成功引領了一大批正著手革新傳統銀行服務的金融初創企業更進一步。只提供app 版本的理財管理工具如Monzo、Revolut和Starling Bank正在重塑銀行體驗、提供消費追踪、預算、即時匯款以及降低銀行費用方面均取得重大成功。
香港 — 全新的市場
作者：Raymond Wyand 衛理文
The Massive Untapped Personal Finance App Market in Asia
About 10 years ago, Mint, a US Personal Financial Management (PFM) App was an instant hit. Mint came out of nowhere and made boring but crucial things like managing personal finance, budgeting and money tracking kind of fun. And most importantly, it was free.
Mint was a sensation amongst consumers, hitting 1.5 million users within two years before being acquired by data aggregator Intuit for US$170 million. The founding team left shortly after, and many went on to become famous in their own right. This included Dave Mcclure, founder of 500 startups, and Noah Kagan (the original Digital Guerrilla marketer).
USA, the mature PFM App Market
When Mint was acquired, Intuit was a $10bn company. Today it is worth 4x that amount, with Mint estimated to be at least 25% of the valuation. But with the founding team gone, Mint has turned from the exciting consumer champion into exactly what it was trying to disrupt. With its heavy emphasis on budgeting Mint has become kind of boring…
The disruptor becomes the disrupted
When Clarity Money launched, founder Adam Dell claimed that he “…started Clarity Money because I was frustrated by how little you can do with Mint”. He was clearly not alone, within 5 months they scored 100,000 users and landed $11 million of Series B funding. And they are not the only startup taking the fight to Mint’s backyard – Personal Capital, Toshl Finance, and MoneyLion are also joining the battle to topple Mint.
With an overall financial service shift towards customer-centricity, this new breed of PFM Apps is getting popular among millennials, who are tired of being stuck with the poor user experience often associated with banking apps.
Europe, far ahead in Open Banking
If we look at Europe, consumers are beginning to take a more active role in how their financial lives are run. The new European Directive on Payment Services (PSD2) has helped to usher in a segment of fintech startups that have begun eating into the market share of traditional banks. App-only service providers like Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank have all had significant levels of success in reinventing the banking experience, offering spending trackers, budgeting, instant money transfer and minimal bank fees.
Asia, a young and dynamic market
In Asia, where local markets are diverse and in some cases limited by size, it is not only hard to find a dominant or leading PFM App – in many cases there are no PFM apps at all. Well-established financial systems like Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are dominated by the traditional banks. For these markets, ‘fintech’ has referred largely to B2B businesses that exclusively pitch products to banks – and very few of these ever reach the consumers. But this is all about to change…at least in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Norman Chan said, “The upgrading of our banking system to a new and higher level of Smart Banking is not just something nice-to-have but a must” – and this turned out not to be a soundbite. The new Open API initiative shows that regulators have embraced action over conversation, and the influx of new technologies, high smartphone penetration rate and increasingly tech-savvy millennials look set to propel HK into a leading position in fintech.
Hong Kong, a fresh ground market
At gini, we strongly believe in putting control of personal finances back in users’ hands, giving them the ability to track their money and make prudent financial decisions.
For too long finance in HK has been conducted in the shadows; dominated by a few players who benefit little from transparency. HK deserves a company that is built around the consumer, that addresses their own needs, and is an advocate for transparency and financial literacy. We hope to make gini that company.
We’re building our product from the ground up, based on the feedback from our amazing beta community that has grown to over 5,000 in less than a week. With the prevailing trends of Opening Banking and Open APIs in different regions, there will be tremendous opportunities for fintech startups who want to help consumers with advanced technology and reshape banking services and products to expand their footprints in Hong Kong, as well as Asia.
Raymond Wyand is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of gini, the first personal financial management app powered by bank-level security in Hong Kong. Prior to this, Ray is a former Vice President at Citibank, part of the Global Credit Trading Business based in Hong Kong. His areas of expertise included Regulatory Capital Optimization, CLO Syndication, Securitization and Credit Derivatives.