Quicken users concerned by the uncertain future of the desktop-based personal finance product, which was put up for sale by Intuit in August, may have hope after all.
A trio of Madison entrepreneurs launched CountAbout, a web and mobile personal finance app designed for former Quicken customers, earlier this month. According to reporting by Fast Company, Quicken boasted about 15 million users throughout the 2000s.
CountAbout, which won second place in the Information Technology category during the 2015 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest, had been in production long before the fortuitous change of fate for the product it was based upon.
Joseph Carpenter, a co-founder of CountAbout, said the original business plan was to offer a cloud-based escape for users of the increasingly glitch-prone personal finance management software. Now they'll offer a place to go if Quicken dissolves.
Carpenter considers this a particularly large boon for his business. Former Quicken users should feel right at home with CountAbout, he said, because the web and mobile app is designed to be intuitive for them, and will easily import their Quicken history.
“There’s almost a cult-like approach to personal finance for Quicken users,” Carpenter said. “They like having historical data and they don’t want to give it up. It’s a real comfort zone thing.”
Armed with that knowledge, CountAbout emerged out of its year-and-a-half-long beta testing phase on Oct. 10.
Now it’s “live to world and off to the races,” Carpenter said.
Many users may compare CountAbout to Mint, a popular personal finance app that logged more than 10 million users back in 2012.
Carpenter said CountAbout deviates from the blockbuster app in a few ways: first off, there are no advertisements on CountAbout. The app makes all its money through yearly subscriptions, which cost $9.99 for the basic service and $29.99 for the premium level. Secondly, the app offers more room for customization, via adding and deleting budget categories.
Though CountAbout hasn’t tapped many local resources (they subcontracted outside of the country for their web and Android development), Carpenter said participating in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest was an integral part of the business’ development.
“It just kind of validated the business concept,” he said.
CountAbout also secured two local investors at the event. All other investments for the company have come from friends and family of the three co-founders.
Looking ahead, the company has fairly low overhead expenses and has set a goal for subscribers necessary to stay afloat.
“We’ve built a product that works,” Carpenter said. “We either get enough subscribers so it’s viable, or we pull the plug.”