Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Yahoo attempts another mashup – Personal Finance

January 19, 2007

It seems Yahoo has pretty much figured out its full time direction – Develop useless content mashups. New addition is Yahoo Personal Finance(YPF) that does everything good for Yahoo(read ads), it’s advertisers, content publishers, except for the users. So what really does YPF offer?

  1. Resource centers – Banking and Budgeting, Taxes,……
  2. Content (Content deals for Yahoo) – CNNMoney.com, Consumer Reports, Kiplinger
  3. “How To” guides
  4. Financial calculators
  5. Integration of Yahoo! Answers
  6. Advice columns
  7. Finance glossary

I am confused. Are we in year 1997 or 2007. Who needs these kind of crappy aggregators? Aren’t there enough of these lying all around? Oh yeah my favorites – How To guides and finance calculators? Come on guys, why waste your time on all this?

I think Yahoo should stop running after all those high CPC advertisers, and instead build something that is really useful for the users. Some kind of financial analytics software, or a better portfolio management.

Links:
Yahoo Personal Finance

FYGO launches peer-peer money lending

December 20, 2006

FYGO, another startup enabling peer-peer money lending, has launched its public beta. FYGO based out of Phoenix Arizona is lead by David Farias who previously worked as Director of e-business and Business Solutions at Phelps Dodge Corporation.

The process to signup for an account at FYGO is somewhat convoluted right now, which involves multiple trips to your email and FYGO before you can really login. Once inside you can create your own networks, invite you family and friends, and start lending money in your network of trust. Each network can set interest rate at which money it lent and who receives the funds. As a user you can browse for open requests or put in request for funds. Before you can put in a request or loan funds, FYGO wants you to go through an authorization process(costs $3) that includes giving your bank details, verification of ownership of account, and FYGO obtaining your credit report. This qualification process means that the service is for US based users.

Since the site is new and there are no users looking for funds, it is difficult to tell how you can judge the credit worthiness of a borrower. As an idea, I am not sure if ventures like FYGO or Zopa or Prosper will be a success in a long run. Being able to prevent loan defaults and provide an accurate rating of people looking for funds is a very difficult process, which even the best credit card companies find difficult to implement. Considering a case of a person with a good credit rating of over 700, I assume he should already be getting access-checks from various credit companies offering 0% interest rate for at least 1 year. I don’t see such an user coming FYGO to borrow money. On the other hand people with lower scores and who have skipped payments can very well miss your payment. However, there might be a fine subset of users looking to get money from these sites and return on time, which I feel are difficult to categorize and quantify. Still, it will be an interesting experiment to watch for.

On the other hand I like the idea of Kiva, which lends small amounts of money to people in 3rd world countries and has seen 100% fund returns due to its unique lending model.

Links:
FYGO
Kiva 

 

ChipIn launches beta

November 6, 2006

ChipIn today launched beta version of its newly redesigned product that comes after an year in development. ChipIn’s makes it easy for people to collect money easily online. ChipIn service provides widgets than can be embedded onto most of the popular sites including MySpace, Blogger, and Tagworld, or you can create your own page at ChipIn and pass around the link, or you can put it right onto your site. ChipIn site provides the ability to create quick and easy campaigns+widgets, and management of your campaigns+widgets created.

Will write in detail about it soon.

Links:
ChipIn beta

Pre-paid credit card service gets venture funding

November 1, 2006

 Benchmark Capital Europe and Atlas Ventures has invested €20 million into 3VCash.com which provides pre-paid credit cards in Europe. 3V pre-paid credit cards or 3V Vouchers enables consumers to shop wherever you see the VISA logo. 3V, launched in 2004, has already done deals with Irish Life & Permanent and Visa Europe.

Obvious advantage of using 3V vouchers is that no credit checks or bank references are required. You can easily buy 3V voucher from any of the participating payzone retail outlet. For each 3V voucher you buy there is a £3.50 fee. Once you are out of funds in your 3V Voucher you can just throw it away and buy a new one. Customers can always view their transaction history on the 3V site

Links:
3VCash

Tags: StartupSquad, Funding, Finance

BofA plans to shoot down Zecco

October 12, 2006

BofA              Zecco

Bank of America(BofA) is trying to preempt any attempts by startups like Zecco to score a quick home run. Zecco, which had launched recently, has been aggressively spreading around the word about its offer for free online stock trading. Yesterday BofA announced that it will also be offering up to 30 free trades per month to investors using its online service. BofA will be rolling out the service initially on east coast and Bay Area customers will be able to take advantage of the plan by February. Till now, BofA has been charging $5 to $10 per trade.

Key difference between BofA and Zecco offerings is the amount of funds needed in the account. BofA customers need to have $25,000 in deposits at the bank, whereas at Zecco customers need maintain a $2,500 minimum balance.

Links:
BofA Press Release
Zecco

 Tags:

SocialPicks for Financial Networking

August 28, 2006

Financial Social Networking sites are popping up quickly. Latest entrant is SocialPicks.com.

Features: SocialPicks allows users to search for stocks by ticker symbol and among others things, gives the stock Buy/Sell Rating, user analysis, related discussion between SocialPicks members. Users can add stocks to their watch lists, or write analysis about them. Users can also get others sentiments about a stock, whether it�s bullish or bearish. As expected you can assign tags to stocks, and pull up all stocks related to a tag.
Another main feature is the People area where you can view any user’s profile, their investment ideas, Personal portfolio, and Investment Accuracy. You can follow a user or you can add them as your friend. Members can also join groups or start a new group, to diversify their market knowledge, which will provide a competitive platform between members, or as groups as they compete with other groups on SocialPicks. For every group there are Stock Panels, Investment Ideas, and Whiteboard.
The site is geared towards user collaboration, which in turn will provide better information about stocks and investment ideas. Each user is assigned a score based on number of investment ideas, accuracy of shared ideas, return of personal portfolio, number of analysis written. So if a Financial Geek wants to prove himself, SocialPicks is the right place.

Technology/UI: Site is logical and straight forward and works perfectly in Firefox as well as Internet Explorer. RSS feeds are there for anything and everything, which is a nice idea. You can get feeds for Recent Picks, Popular Picks, Recent Analysis, Popular Analysis, Recent Activities (including pick, sell and watch) for People. Given that it’s a new site, it was expected that stock quotes and charts will support Ajax based refresh, but that doesn�t seem to be the case. Hope it�s on their feature list.

Revenue: As of now site is free of advertising, which makes me wonder how they will go about funding their operations. Maybe they can start charging user for creating groups just like meetup.com.

Competition: Social picks will face major competition from Finance giants� yahoo, Google, but has advantage ’cause of its community based features. Also, more competition comes from similar startups including Feelingbullish.com, Bullpoo.com, Gradr.com, and Stocktickr.com. It needs to be seen how they will differentiate themselves and carve out a better strategy against their big and small competitors.

Future: As per Weiting Liu, SocialPicks is working on development of better set of collaboration tools and fully integrating Groups feature into the SocialPicks site.

Right now SocialPicks is in the beta testing phase and are looking for users to profile their site. I have 20 invites for people who want to try out SocialPicks. Email me for invites (vp at vivekpuri dot com).

Links:
SocialPicks

SocialPicks Stock

SocialPicks Stock

SocialPicks Stock