mint.comEarlier this year I attended the Business Startup Exhibition in London. They were running an event based on the Dragons Den format.

Someone was pitching an idea for a web-based personal finance application. One of the “Dragons” tried to humiliate him and told him there was no demand for that kind of thing. The muppet was more interested in be a Simon Cowell mini-me than being of any use.  The person I was with dragged me away to stop me shooting my mouth off in defence of the would-be entrepreneur.

There’s plenty of demand for something like KashFlow but for the peronal finance space. Over in the US mint.com has been making great in-roads and taking big chunks of business away from the incumbent player, Intuit.

TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Intuit are buying Mint in a deal worth £170m (£102m). A very handsome price for a company that isn’t actually making much money. The software is provided free of charge to the user and the company makes money by other means as mint.com founder and CEO Aaron Patzer explains in this video:

In the US, Intuit is a far bigger player in the accountancy software market than Sage, the UK leader.

Intuit “got” the SaaS concept long before Sage did (I’m still not sure they have) and have been successfully offering a web-based version of Quickbooks (US only) for some time now.

So where to now for Mint and Intuit?

Intuit say they’ll continue with the mint.com application and brand and put Aaron Patzer in charge of its personal finance group.

Patzer said part of the appeal to him of the deal was the ability to tap into Intuit’s resources, particularly on the marketing side of things. I can certainly relate to that.

I hope he survives the move from calling all the shots to being an employee. I don’t think I could!

But the question remains, where is the mint.com equivalent for the UK market? I don’t see one. The online accounting software space for small businesses is getting very crowded with a new entrant every month (I was only aware of 1 or 2 others when we launched). My suspicion is that one or two of them will re-position themselves as being a personal finance app in the not too distant future.

Update: @roanlavery on Twitter just informed me of the existence on Kublax, a UK equivalent of Mint. Very slickly presented and appears to be well funded. I’m surprised I’d not heard of them before.

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