Fast Company

Mint Sells to Intuit for $170 Million, Will It Wither on the Vine?

Writing about personal finance systems we once likened Intuit's Quicken to Old Spice and spiky start-up Mint to Axe Bodyspray. Now Mint's success is being bought up by Intuit--will the smell of Old Spice overwhelm all else?

Quicken and

The deal hasn't been officially announced yet, but it's leaked out over at TechCrunch (which had a hand in Mint's launch in 2007). It certainly represents a success for the company's management, as the company's moved to a $170 million valuation in two years, passing a $140 million valuation at its last financing round just a few weeks ago.

Why is Quicken interested in it? First, it's a young upstart competitor, and has tapped into a new market very successfully (it has over 1.4 million registered users). Taking it on board at an early stage is a way for Intuit to control its rapid growth and prevent it from becoming a serious competitor later on. Second, Mint's apparently not begun to investigate the data-mining opportunities present in the recorded info on those 1.4 million users--a data set that's got intrinsic value in its own right.

So far, so good. But is this good news from a user point of view? Mint's press presence is full of glowing commentary and awards, and it's garnered a lot of positive public vibe. Quicken, on the other hand, faces a list of criticisms that start with how badly it abandoned its U.K. users in 2005, its advertisement placements and an apparently disproportionately large frequency of reported bugs. Sure, Intuit's the bigger entity, and Mint's management's going to clean up on the deal...but from a Mint-user standpoint, being bought up by a company with a dim user-interaction history doesn't sound all that good. We can but hope that Intuit uses Mint's design to inject some freshness into Quicken.

[via TechCrunch]

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  • Greg Hollingsworth

    You could always switch from mint to MoneyCenter by Yodlee. Yodlee is the company that created the platform that mint was built around. It's free, has functionality that didn't have, and it's not being bought by Intuit.

  • Peter Mirus

    It is always satisfying to see a potential competitor to Intuit leave the field. Does Intuit plan to use Mint as a learning opportunity to improve the user experience? I hope so.

  • David Ledgerwood

    I sincerely hope functionality is kept separate. I'll trash my account if I see my data being used in a manner I don't approve of. I really like the Mint interface and I hope it continues to function, perhaps with some of the better Intuit features baked in.

  • Paul Hollett

    Intuit has a choice ... use the innovation Mint offers or try to stifle it. (in which case someone else will reinnovate and Intuit will still lose the smart customers).

  • Paul Hollett

    Intuit has a choice ... use the innovation Mint offers or try to stifle it. (in which case someone else will reinnovate and Intuit will still lose the smart customers.

  • John-Scott Dixon

    Yeah - this is a major bummer. I don't blame Mint management - what an awesome feat! I hope this doesn't become a pattern, all the goodness that is Web 2.0 could be wiped out. Also, shouldn't the users have a choice as to whether personal financial data is shared with Intuit?