Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Amazing Apps: Exeq

The Exeq iOS app lets you see your transactions in a clear and understandable way, set weekly customized budgets, and check out new places in your area to spend. They have a new CEO from LinkedIn, investors like Barclays Bank and Techstars, and 40,000 people on our national waitlist. I had a chance to interview CEO Derek Brown to learn more.

  • To answer, that I'll give you a story: when I was 25 years old, I found out that I was soon going to be the father of twins. I was honestly excited...but equally as terrified. You always hear that having a child is expensive. And here I was, two years out of school, making well under $30k yearly, with no real grasp of my finances, and I was going to be the father of two. Having no data about where my money was going. No knowledge about where it could go in a more efficient way. No tools that were relevant to me.  remember that feeling.

    Fast forward a few years: I'm at a fantastic company serving the private wealth management industry...which serves a tier of wealth that most Americans simply don't fall into. But as I looked at what was out there for personal finance, I realized that there was nothing serving what banks call the "mass affluent": everyday people, particularly those who are freshly out of college, or starting families for the first time. People just like the 25-year-old me with twins on the way and little-to-no data about their finances. No tooling that they enjoy using. Nothing that allows them to see where their money is going without making them feel guilty along the way. That's why we've built Exeq. Exeq is truly for the college students, the young professionals, the family starters that have no tools, no information, and no idea where to turn.
  • The biggest difference is that we're not just a finance app. We're a lifestyle app as well. To explain, humor me for a bit: people absolutely love spending money. They love finding new places, new brands, new restaurants, new experiences. Spending isn't just enjoyable, it's necessary. That said, why is there no financial technology for spending? People are going to spend money. At Exeq, we want to make sure that people can spend their money responsibly. What's the best budget-friendly children's bookstore in my city? What dinner spot near me is the best for my family of five? These are questions that I ask regularly...and no app or tool out there has been able to answer it. Yelp, Foursquare, Google Places all give me "$$" or "$$$". My bank or isn't going to come close to these questions. When it comes to actually living life with our money, today's tech is simply not helpful. By combining financial and lifestyle data, Exeq is able to build a consumer product that enables better spending.
  • In our opinion, the hardest thing about managing money is getting the data right. Being able to read the gibberish in your bank account and work out where your money actually went. Keeping track of where your money is going is difficult. Keeping track of where your money has gone is difficult. Keeping track of where your money should go is near impossible. Think about even simple questions like "How much money have I spent on Amazon over the last 12 months?" or "What's my average Lyft ride cost?". Because of our secure connection with the banks, Exeq is able to  answer those questions. It's hard for me to keep track of that I don't, and then I'm making decisions off of poor and incomplete information.

    Technology is not very good at making behavioral decisions...but it is really good at aggregating and analyzing data so that people can make decisions. The way we're building our app is not to make decisions for you, but to give you the information you need to make the best decisions yourself. It's your data. It's your money. It's your decision.

  • Many people "make do" with their financial habits. They get by, and it works for them. But what if you were slightly more informed about your finances? What if you were able to make more efficient financial decisions? What if you could support local small businesses and stay within your budget? What if you could truly spend better? What would that mean for your financial health? For your family? These are the questions that keep us up at night here at Exeq. It's not just about the millennial or college student. It's about the new parents who have enough to worry about, much less where the most affordable groceries can be bought near them. It's about the single parent who's wondering which nearby daycare is best. It's about the family of five who is trying to enjoy their weekends without making the days leading up to payday more stressful.

    Why is it so important to stay on top of spending in a detailed way? It's not because money is everything, but rather because leading fulfilling lives is what it's all about. Financial health is simply a means to this end.

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