Financial Planning Service Pocketbook Vows to Simplify Budgeting
Tightening purse strings has been a long-standing New Year’s resolution. By taking stock of finances after the merriment of the holidays has faded, feeling the financial sting has become as much a part of this season as vowing to dust off those running shoes after stepping on the scale.
The timing couldn’t be better for Sydney-based startup Pocketbook, Australia’s answer to financial planning service Mint.com. Currently in private beta, the service will let users import personalised account and financial data from top national banks, seamlessly providing user-friendly feedback on managing budgets.
Banks offer similar services to users, Pocketbook co-founder Bosco Tan told Computerworld Australia in an interview, “but nothing is very easy to use or of much value besides showing your balance and transferring money.” Pocketbook, on the other hand, hopes to be “ridiculously simple” to use and works similarly to Mint.com, which supports U.S. and Canadian financial institutions.
Working with programmer Alvin Singh, Tan developed the platform which has already garnered “a lot of interest” at local startup event SydStart, “We want to get the experience absolutely right at a local level,” Tan explained. Spurred by initial support, the two have continued developing and fine tuning the Pocketbook software.
Bank feeds can already be imported into Pocketbook from Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ bank, National Australia Bank, St George, Bankwest, ING Direct and GE Money’s 28 Degrees Mastercard with plans to add Citibank, Ubank and Suncorp in the next month. Once Pocketbook has established a strong network of users in Australia, plans are to expand offered services to New Zealand and further abroad.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.