LearnVest, which launched today at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco, is a personal finace tool that walks users through checklists and helps them tackle big financial goals like budgeting for a wedding or applying for a student loan.
LearnVest is meant to “elevate financial self-help to the web,” which is another way of saying it’s targeted at women. It quizzes them about their salary, whether they know what credit stores are, and about what they prioritize. It then creates a profile, advising them on where to start.
For example, if a user wants to get out of debt, LearnVest gives them articles on how to manage their cashflow and budget. They can also ask the LearnVest user community for advice. It attempts to personal finance more akin to a game, by awarding points, status badgets and discounts on consumer goods. The company has partnered with BankRate.com, so users can find new accounts to open through the site.
Judges at the conference provided some feedback to the company.
Bradley Horowitz, Google: The game thing didn’t work for me. I don’t know anyone who wants to be a seventh degree debt-removal expert. Game dynamics not well-suited for digging yourself out of debt.
Kevin Rose, Digg: It’s going to be hard for people to admit that they’re in debt.
Satish Dharmaraj, Redpoint Ventures: The business model is advertising and lead-generation? I kind of feel that customer acquisition is going to be a big hurdle here.
Lior Zorea: I like the financial advice part of it. I agree with the other judges. It’s going to be hard to get people to stay. Other web sites provide real tangible benefits.