Wesabe raises $4M for social expense management online

Wesabe, a Web site that lets people manage their finances, and network with network with others for advice, has raised $4 million in a first round of financing.

We first wrote about the Berkeley, Calif. company in November.

The financing was led by Union Square Ventures, of New York, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, of San Francisco, which provided the company with seed money. Its advantage over incumbent services such as Quicken is that it is online and offers its service is free.

However, the company has plenty of competition offering similar services including online services from mainstream banks. It is unclear how many people are entrusting their finances with Wesabe. The company says it has had “tens of thousands” of people register, and that between 60 and 70 percent of the people have returned to the site at least once after registering.

buxfer-nice.jpgCompetitor Buxfer launched a couple of months earlier, and offers more compelling visual graphics, such as pie charts, while offering similar other basic features such as importing expense transactions and providing ways to tag them. With Buxfer, you can add also your transactions via SMS. It does have some group features, such as ways to split expenses with roommates. There’s also Mint, which still hasn’t launched, but has generated buzz since getting backed by First Round Capital.

Wesabe’s Marc Hedlund tells VentureBeat Wesabe’s primary advantage is the extensiveness of its social networks: It lets people share tips about places they visited while dining, and things such as bank fees and debt levels — which provide ways for people to make better financial decisions, Hedlund said. The company has recently offered a Flash-based bar graph comparing expense categories.