In 2011 Peter Lord launched a FinTech company and while he may not have experienced the speedy growth-filled path to instant success he was after – a new start down the track with new branding and marketing strategy certainly is certainly a clear example of the faster is better philosophy – and Lord now has the acquisition under his belt to prove it.
In late 2015, FinTech startup MoneyBrilliant officially re-released itself. A “virtual financial assistant” that brought people’s personal finances together under one digital umbrella, users could connect the app, which is both web-based and mobile, to hundreds of Australian and international financial services accounts and automatically have their bills, spending, and savings organised to see if they are tracking ‘in the green’ with each pay cycle.
MoneyBrilliant was inspired by the tough financial times experienced by his mother as she neared retirement. She was given the family home unencumbered, but she wasn’t in control of the family’s finances and was quite uncomfortable around money. Lord suggested that she see a financial planner, borrow against the value of the family home and invest in a unit trust. But she didn’t have the confidence to say yes. Lord said this cost his mother close to $300,000 when it came to retirement.
“When my grandfather died, my nan just had herself and she didn’t have the financial knowledge to really enjoy her golden years. Once I started digging a little deeper, it wasn’t just my mum I could help, but also my sister, my friends, my work colleagues. There’s a whole range of people who are financially insecure,” said Lord in a previous interview with Startup Daily.
The app was designed with women in mind, but it wasn’t ‘exclusively’ for women – in fact, its users back in 2015 were a split 60-40, women to men. The reason MoneyBrilliant primarily targeted women was not because women are financially incompetent, but because in some ways, women are disadvantaged, and they certainly face different challenges to men. An obvious example is the gender pay gap – in Australia, the gender pay gap is 17.9 percent, so women are paid $0.82 of every $1.00 men are paid. Yet Australia fares well compared to the US, where women are being paid $0.77 of every $1.00 men are paid.
Prior to the ‘relaunch’, MoneyBrilliant was called ‘Cha-Ching’, and Lord had raised capital for the startup amongst family and friends. In 2014 the startup raised $1.5 million in funding from financial services company AMP. According to the startup, the partnership with AMP was brokered on a shared goal to make a positive impact on the financial well-being of Australians, with the startup approaching that challenge by focusing on the everyday – the basics of helping Australians pay bills, save, and spend.
“We coined the phrase, the ‘Money Maslow’, to reflect our philosophy on financial well-being. If you don’t have the basic needs under control, like paying your bills and spending within your limits, you can’t have a conversation about goals and building wealth. You can’t get ahead,” Jemma Enright, CEO of Money Brilliant said at the time.
The raised funds were used primarily to recruit talent as well as used for marketing and other strategic customer acquisition activities.
Up until that point, though, under a new company name and revamped, funded platform Lord said it had been a tough rocky four year journey.
Then sometimes when things move quick – they move damn quick.
Earlier this year MoneyBrilliant was preparing for another capital raise which ended up turning into an acquisition of the entire company.
Having invested $1.5 million into the platform in 2014, financial services company AMP announced its acquisition of the startup. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The company stated that it is focused on growing MoneyBrilliant as an independent company to expand its customer offering.
Lord said the acquisition was a natural evolution of the relationship between the two companies, who had developed a strong partnership since 2014. Part of AMP’s customer strategy is to create easier ways for customers to engage and manage their finances, which was aligned with MoneyBrilliant’s strategy.
“We’re excited to extend the relationship we have with AMP through this acquisition. AMP’s customer strategy is to create easier ways for customers to engage and manage their finances. MoneyBrilliant is well aligned with this strategy and the acquisition of our brand will allow AMP to leverage its capabilities in the development of new customer offers during 2016 and beyond,” he said.
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