It’s really difficult to distinguish one personal finance website from the other. Most of them offer the same charts and pretty much same level of stock/fund analysis. Bangalore based Moneysights wants to play a different role in this space – the startup wants to simplify personal finance experience for a common man and one thing that surely stands out from their website is the focus on user experience.
Apart from super fast page loading time, MoneySights offers a lot of contextual information sans finance jargon. If you are the kind who loves to do a lot of research on companies, this one is surely for you (below is the screenshot of a stock page).
Moreover, most of the finance sites are either built as destination sites (example: moneycontrol.com), monetized by ads or are purely meant for lead generation (example: apnapaisa.com), though I strongly believe that there is a viable play in mixing the two approach and build a business around the same (i.e. lead generation + ads+ transaction).
An interesting service that will have a challenging time differentiating in this space, as there are so many players but very few that are actually useful. Moreover, the measure of differentiation is quite difficult to define (that is, how do you position UX improvements?) in personal finance space.
Here is an interview with moneysights founding team (Santosh and Mukesh), who earlier worked for InMobi.
Your (i.e. team) life prior to starting moneysights. How come the switch from mobile world (InMobi) to personal finance?
Prior to starting moneysights.com, Mukesh Kalra & myself both were the first 2 recruits at InMobi after the Founding Team (Naveen, Abhay, Amit & Mohit). Mukesh built the product from scratch, while i was responsible for leading the monetization of Ad Network across geographies.
Though we were deeply entrenched in work at InMobi, through our own experiences (as consumers), we realized that it was always difficult to take financial decisions that one felt confident about (while or after the purchase). On discussing with friends, we felt we weren’t alone in this.
Couple with the above problem, thanks to growing mis-spelling by distributors & agents, there were also changes happening in the Financial Services Ecosystem like banning of entry loads by Regulator (SEBI) & ensuring greater transparency across the buying process. Specifically the ban cut the commissions to a level that it had made the offline distribution of Mutual Funds to retail customers (read small-ticket customers) economically unviable.
We started probing the market further & initiated discussions with people from the industry. Most people we met agreed with our observations – Consumer Problem was real, there was a Large under-served Market & Regulation has started favoring an efficient & pro-customer distribution play.
Over time, the feeling that we can make an impact in the space grew over us. The problem and the opportunity looked challenging enough to quit InMobi where we had contributed in more than significant way.
A switch from a mobile advertising to personal finance may look drastic. But on the contrary, not being originally from this space has actually helped us look at the problem from a fresh perspective & this is pretty much evident in the product.
There are umpteen portals in personal finance space and the entire industry has been thru’ consolidation (mostly distressed sale or w/o a huge RoI). What’s your take on the opportunity at hand?
Yes, this space is cluttered (in online as well as offline). However, if one closely looks at the existing online players, they fall in either of these 4 buckets –
- Information Aggregation & Lead Generation,
- Offering Financial Education,
- Paid Financial Advice &
- Transaction Platforms.
We aren’t sure if any of the propositions is solving the real customer problem of a retail investor in holistic way. –
An online aggregator is just focused on generating that lead & NOT helping you decide which investment plan is the best suited to you. Educational sites give you valuable gyaan but then when it comes to “acting” on the knowledge acquired, the required information & analysis isn’t available. And if available, it isn’t simple to use & act. As far as Paid Financial Advice is concerned, most customers don’t profit enough in a year to be ready to pay a fat fee to Advisors (most players charge a fee of Rs. 5,000 to 15,000 per annum). Transaction platforms like online brokerage houses again are focused on making you trade & buy more rather than knowing whats the consumer’s risk appetite is, is the product suitable to him or what his/her financial needs are?, etc.
So, if one looks at the Consumer Problem, nobody is solving it in a manner which is holistic, unbiased & simple. At moneysights, we have spent significant resources in developing capabilities that are answer to the real world consumer problems. Our value proposition is that we help our users in simplifying investing decisions that lead to informed purchase decisions. And we deliver this value proposition in probably the most simplistic & user-friendly interface. We often say this, Investments need not be complex, boring & stressful.
Everyone who has used moneysights has just loved our navigation, user-friendliness & refreshing interface. And our users love us because they find solutions to their problems. Here are some of the things that we do uniquely –
1. We help users enter their Stocks & Mutual Fund Portfolio details & run a health check on it to let her know
– How can she minimize the Risk of her Investment Portfolio?
– Which of her Stocks & Mutual Fund investments need to be replaced?
– Is the Portfolio suitable to her? And if not, get a Personalized Mutual Fund Portfolio that’s diversified, minimizes risk & optimizes returns!
2. Allow users to “discover” Financially Sound Stocks & Great Mutual Funds that they may not have heard of
3. We allow users to Plan Tax-saving Investment in less than 60 seconds!
4. We have a unique Financial Report Card for every Stock & Mutual Fund
1. To enable us offer the above, we have developed our own proprietary algorithms using Modern Portfolio Theory & Value-Investing Principles. The above offerings are simply not available in exiting online portals or are available for a fee in offline world.
So, if we look at the portals who have failed, we would say the problem wasn’t solved or the customer’s needs were not well understood. We are differentialing ourselves in only ONE aspect – “Making Investing Simple”. And by that we intend to make all stages of decision-making & acting – Evaluating, Deciding, Planning, Buying (i.e. Investing), Ongoing Management.
How do you plan to monetize moneysights?
We are going to offer our users the option of investing in Mutual Funds online, right from moneysights.com. We are targeting to make this offering available soon.
Planning to build a community feature? How do you plan to engage users?
Yes, we intend to make moneysights more interactive & engaging. The challenge is how does one ensure the community is diseminating unbiased advice/information or not aiding to make decision-making process again complex. We haven’t yet solved for this. Hence this may not happen immediately.
Do give moneysights a spin and share your comment/feedback with the team. Do you think moneysights can take on moneycontrol out of sight?