Where can you find an unbiased, personal finance app that
serves purely in your interests? An app that analyses your bank accounts, your recurring subscriptions and your spending habits to figure out how to save you money?
That’s what personal finance app Clarity Money, launching on Tuesday, promises.
Clarity Money is cofounded by Adam Dell, Michael Dell’s brother, and backed by some heavy hitters including the Soros Fund, Maveron Partners and Bessemer Venture Capital.
Once you download the app and link your bank accounts, Clarity Money promises to analyse your accounts and make suggestions to save you money. It uses data science and machine learning to negotiate bills, create a savings account, find lower interest rate credit cards and/or personal loans, transfer money between accounts, and deliver actionable insights based on your spending patterns, credit score and credit cards.
The app can monitor your daily spending and create a budget, auto discover recurrent subscriptions and cancel the ones you no longer need, and create an FDIC insured savings account. It can also analyse your existing credit cards and surface better options, even applying for you right in the app.
“The whole idea behind it is to give consumers advice,” said Dell. “People feel overwhelmed and they don’t have the tools to navigate financial relationships.”
What’s particularly interesting about Dell’s startup is the B2C model, offering services directly to the consumers with seemingly unbiased advice. Many startups I’ve come across that promise to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to evaluate your finances tend to be on the B2B side, meaning they only partner with banks to offer the services of their apps. This means consumers can only access the app if they already have an account with Bank of America, Chase or Citi.
While this route often makes sense for new startups as they try to tap into a bank’s vast customer base, it also means they are inherently biased. For example, if you can only access a personal finance app through your Chase account, it’s doubtful it will tell you to switch banks, even if there is a better deal out there.
“Two-thirds of customers distrust their financial institutions,” Dell said. “They charge consumers a lot of fees and interest.” Dell wants Clarity to be the advocate for the consumer and the “champion” of your money, helping consumers make better choices.
Clarity Money has so far raised $2.5 million in Series A financing from the likes of Soros Fund Management, Maveron Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners. Cofounder and chief data scientist Hossein Azari hails from Google Research and the startup partners with Dan Ariely of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, which
studies behavioural economics and consumer wellness.
The app currently focuses on bills, savings, credit cards and personal loans, but plans to move into investing and 401k planning in the future.