Thursday, June 21, 2007

My time with the Geezeo founders... it's a pretty sweet service

Geezeo Yesterday I had the chance to meet the founders of Geezeo, Peter Glyman and Shawn Ward. Based in Red Sox (Boston) land, their tagline is, "Keep the Geez in your pocket." The first thing I picked up on is how passionate and excited they are about their product. This is such an important piece of the success of an idea. So many of the companies who contact me write a basic overview. You need to get up in my face and tell me what your service is, why it's better than the rest and how you are going to kick ass. The Geez'rs did this.

Along with Wesabe, Geezeo was part of a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week. Geezeo wants to be considered an "Online Quicken Alternative" and the product offers a lot of new and innovative options past what Quicken or Money do.

For example, Shawn noted that a large percentage of Americans still have their money in savings accounts making sub-1% in interest. When you sign on to Geezeo, they will make recommendations on how to improve your savings by moving to accounts offering 4-5x more. This can amount to thousands of extra dollars a year. Also, the system will offer you suggestions on reducing your credit card debt by looking at using lower interest rate credit cards.

Their target is the 18-34 age bracket and they have ambassadors for their product at major university campuses around the U.S. I suggested to them that they might look at offering seminars on dealing with credit and how to effectively use student loans. I know when I got to college I was hit with 100 credit card offers and wound up with a large amount of debt quickly. Their seminars will provide two benefits: helping students and getting more subs for Geezeo.

So what is Geezeo? Basically it's a "smart" way of managing your money. I say smart because the system learns as it goes. You aggregate all of your bank account and credit information into the system, and it will smart-tag it as it goes along. You can also tag your items as well and then the system learns from your tagging to apply to other users in the future. Geezeo will also offer suggestions on other accounts that you might want to use to either make more or spend less. This is how they generate revenue by affiliate subs with the banking providers. Check out here, here and here for a more detailed product overview.

My immediate reaction when they said, "Yea, Allen you just give us all of your logins and we take it from there" is about security. With hundreds of startups out there, what faith should I have that either of the following won't happen: a. they will just wipe my accounts clean since they have access or b. that their security model will allow a hacker in to accomplish a. Check out their security overview page for some geez speak on how they protect your money.

We spent 45 minutes discussing security and I feel more comfortable now. I asked them to put together a video overview of the security they are using but basically its secure. They are using CashEdge which powers most of the online banks for authentication and they don't store any of your login information after you create your account. They also compared it to storing quicken files on your laptop and your laptop is stolen which would be worse than if someone was able to hack into Geezeo.

There are also mobile components to Geezeo. While I am not a mobile banker, by the looks of the Citibank ads all over NYC, there is a growing percentage that are mobile bankers. And the young'ns are using it more than ever. They also provide support via a MeeboMe widget.

I think the Geez'rs are smart by going after the college and university demographic. Students typically suck at managing their money and overspending on a daily basis. By using Geezeo they might be able to do a better job which could result in extra pocket money for the bars and clubs. Best of luck to Geezeo, if you have tried the service, please post your thoughts in the comments.