Last week, TechCrunch reported that Intuit will acquire the free online personal finance service, Mint, for around $170 million. The deal, which should be announced in the next few days, puts Mint in a new league. As TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington described it, “This is a terrific exit for Mint, which first launched two years ago at TechCrunch50. Mint took the top prize at that event and has been growing fast ever since.” Growing fast, eh? Let’s talk about explosive growth. I’m talking gaining 3,000 new users a day and jumping from 600,000 to 850,000 users in a matter of months. The best part is that Intuit didn’t believe the numbers and sent Mint a threatening letter demanding an explanation for the user sign-up success.
I guess Intuit got the answers they wanted given today’s news. I can see exactly what they see in Mint. As Rob at Regular Geek points out, it was born in the glory days of Web 2.0 and comes without all the baggage of Web 1.0 software products. Where Quicken is desktop-like, heavy and complex to use, Mint uses light graphics and is focused on spending against a budget versus the dull and overwhelming focus on bill payment and tracking. They’ve done a lot of things right with the Mint product and have made personal finance accessible and and even fun for the average Joe.
This acquisition bodes well for those of us in the social trading and investing space. It shows that a serious player like Intuit finds tremendous value in the product and the users of an innovative Web 2.0 company. It proves that breaking the model of the way trading, investing and saving have always been done creates market opportunity, revenue opportunity and innovation opportunity. What a great way to start a Monday. Congrats to the Mint team on this exciting accomplishment.