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Level raises $5M to break personal finance down to the basics

Level cofounders Jake Fuentes and Frank Yeary

Above: Level cofounders Jake Fuentes and Frank Yeary

Image Credit: Level

Level has raised $5 million to help you save for your future, or at least prevent you from going broke in the present.

This real-time money meter calculates your total income, recurring bills, and recommended savings for each month, and gives you a breakdown of what you can spend that day, week, and month.

“Our generation doesn’t think about money the way our parents do,” said Level CEO and Co-Founder Jake Fuentes. “We need a totally new approach to finance that’s mobile-first, simple, and completely effortless.  Budgeting is dead, and that’s why we’ve taken the ‘quantified self’ approach; instead of applying the technology to personal fitness, we’re applying it to personal finance.”

It is built on Intuit’s platform and links with your bank accounts. You don’t have to categorize purchases into buckets, like “groceries” or “entertainment” because Level will do that for you. The amount of spendable income is automatically updated. So if you unwittingly blow $100 on a Tuesday night bar tab or $250 (you can’t afford) on shoes, Level knows. It doesn’t judge, but it knows.

The company never wants you to budget again. It positions itself as both a “Fitbit of personal finance” and a “financial GPS.” The goal is to give people greater insight into their financial behavior and help you make smarter financial decisions.

The app also helps you save for larger purchases down the road. If you want to buy a new car, Level can help you put away a reasonable amount each month and track your progress, so you can actually see how much closer you are.

People can monitor everything these days. The popularity of the quantified self movement has turned all of us into data nerds who want hard facts and numbers to help us improve our lifestyles. Articles titled “5 tips for losing weight this holiday season” or “8 ways to save for the lifestyle you want” seem antiquated when put up against devices that not only track this data in unprecedented ways, but also make personalize recommendations.

The most well-known personal finance app is Mint, which helps people categorize and organize all of their spending. Mint has hundreds of categories and subcategories. Food can be divided into restaurants, take out, coffee shops, fast food, grocers, and alcohol.

Level takes a simpler approach. It doesn’t center around graphs and charts, but presents a simpler nugget of information — how much you can spend and how much you should save.

The product has a strong team backing it up. Cofounder and CEO Jake Fuentes previously built payments systems for Visa. Cofounder and chairman Frank Yeary has been in finance for over 25 years and is on the board of directors at Intel.  VP of Engineering Dave Fayram hails from bank Simple, and VP of Design Robert Suarez led consumer experience design at IDEO.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led this first round of funding. Former Citigroup Chairman and CEO Sandy Weill, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, and former Barclays Global Investors CEO Blake Grossman also participated.

Level is based in San Francisco.