New companies offering web-based personal finance management tools are popping up like Eggo Waffles in the 80s, ever since early start-ups like Mint emerged last year and won accolades.
There was Wesabe. We’ve also seen Geezeo, Buxfer and expensr all show up to take a shot at leadership in this area, but so far none seem to even come close. A new rival appearing at DEMOfall 08 is Rudder.
Tomorrow, at DEMO, another player, this one called Green Sherpa, will announce its existence to the world. The company, which looks a lot like the competition, sets itself apart with a cash flow projection feature that is more sophisticated than the simple budgeting functions offered by Mint. It hopes to capture the soccer moms who want more power than they’d get from Mint but less complexity and hassle that they’d get from Quicken. Why soccer moms? According to founder, Masen Yaffee, they’re more likely to be paying attention to family finances than their husbands.
To empower them, Green Sherpa lets users manually input line items and budget for big one-time expenditures. There is also a sharing feature that gives other people (like a spouse or accountant) access to the data. Mint currently doesn’t offer these capabilities and, while its automatic categorizations and elegant pie-charts cover most of my needs, the lack of manual input means that all cash I spend never gets categorized. This is a pain, but if demand were great enough, Mint could probably implement the necessary changes without a ton of effort.
This is not the only issue Green Sherpa must surmount. Mint has a one year lead on all fronts. It has momentum, solid traction and has extended beyond credit cards and back accounts into loans and investments. Green Sherpa is also going to charge a $7.95 monthly subscription while its main competitors are free. While it’s true that none these competitors have yet to produce ingenious business models, free ain’t easy to beat.
The company says that the market is big enough, but I’m not so sure. After all, how many desktop-based personal finance management products actually matter? I can think of all two.
Click here for all of our DEMO/TechCrunch 50 Conference coverage, including special posts that aren’t on the main VentureBeat page.