Penny raises $1.2M in seed funding for its private finance bot

Penny raises $1.2M in seed funding for its personal finance bot

Penny, a private finance bot we reviewed final fall, has raised $1.2M in seed funding from Social Capital.

As a refresher, the app provides a chat-based mostly interface that gives recommendation tailor-made to your private funds. This recommendation consists of issues like how a lot you spend on meals every week, how this month’s spending compares to final month’s, and even revenue graphs.

One distinctive factor about Penny is that the app solely allows you to ship pre-populated messages, and never pure language requests.

Whereas we initially touted this as certainly one of Penny’s downsides, the current explosion of chat-based mostly bots (most of that are horrible at parsing a consumer’s pure language requests) now assist clarify why pre-populated messages may very well be useful to the consumer. The startup explains that they carried out this function so the consumer isn’t pressured “to determine not solely what they need to ask, but in addition how to ask it in a means the bot understands”.

Primarily, the pre-populated choices make it simpler for a consumer to only speak to the bot, and never fear about what to say and learn how to say it.

Since we checked out Penny final yr, the startup has additionally rolled out new options to assist individuals change their monetary conduct. For instance, the app now will assist customers determine if their health club membership is value it, or examine your Amazon spending with the typical individual’s.

As we enter the age of bots, its turning into clear that a messaging interface simply isn’t one of the simplest ways to do all the things. Purchasing is an instance – many startups have pushed purchasing bots, however till the know-how progresses it’s undoubtedly not simpler or higher than purchasing by way of a standard e-commererce website.

However, finance could possibly be an space the place Bots shine. Nobody likes to log into their financial institution’s account portal, and even once they do it’s troublesome to parse and perceive the itemized statements provided every month. A bot can interpret this info and simplify it for the consumer, which hopefully can result in the typical shopper being higher at understanding their monetary state of affairs.

Penny presently solely lives in its personal iOS-based mostly cellular app. Nevertheless, Mitchell Lee, co-founding father of Penny, famous that they might undoubtedly contemplate placing their bot on a platform like Fb Messenger – however not but. Primarily as a result of the startup can’t but see a transparent worth proposition of providing Penny on different platforms. It’s because the younger platforms aren’t but developed sufficient to completely help Penny’s key options (safe password entry, pre-populated responses, and so on).

The startup will use the funding to rent one or two individuals to deepen their experience in machine studying, a crucial (however typically forgotten) a part of creating a bot. It’s going to additionally allow them to proceed to experiment with determining how Penny will present worth to customers, because the app at present doesn’t have any monetization elements.