Monarch, a subscription-based platform that aims to help consumers “plan and manage” their financial lives, has raised $ 4.8 million in seed funding.
Accel led the round, which also included SignalFire’s participation, and brings the Mountain View-based but fully distributed startup’s total funding from its inception in 2019 to $ 5.5 million.
Co-founder and CEO Val Agostino was the original team’s first product manager to create Mint.com. There, he said, he saw firsthand that Americans with a greater understanding of financial affairs “needed software solutions that went beyond simple tracking and budgeting.”
“They needed help planning their financial future and understanding the tradeoffs between competing financial priorities,” he said.
Monarch aims to help people address those needs with software that says it “makes it easy” for people to describe their financial goals and then create a forward-looking, detailed plan to achieve them.
“Then we help clients track their progress against their plan and automatically correct course as their financial situation changes, which always does,” said Agostino.
Monarch came out of private beta in early 2021 with apps for web, iOS, and Android, and is priced at $ 9.99 per month or $ 89.99 per year. The startup intentionally chose not to receive advertising or sell customer financial data.
These approaches are “misaligned with the financial interests of users,” Agostino said.
“We feel that a subscription business model would better support that spirit and align the interests of our users with ours,” he added. Since its public launch, Monarch has grown its paid subscriber base by approximately 9% per week.
Monarch was launched during the pandemic, whose uncertainty carried over into people’s financial lives, Agostino believes.
“As a result, we saw many people make use of Monarch’s forecasting capabilities to compare different ‘what if’ scenarios, such as changing jobs or moving to a different city or state,” he said.
Earlier this month, TechCrunch reported on a company with a similar mission, Is a good omen, partnering with American Express on a financial planning tool for its cardholders. Agostino said that Monarch is similar to BodesWell in that both startups help clients map out a financial plan and a future.
“The difference is that Monarch also has a full suite of PFM tools, such as budgeting, reporting, and investment analysis,” he said. “The benefit to the consumer is that because Monarch is connected to your entire financial picture, we can help you stay current with your financial plan and / or update the plan in real time if necessary.”
Accel’s Daniel Levine said that until he met Monarch, he was “somehow it remains a customer of Mint despite its obsolescence. “
Over the past decade, the landscape for financial products has expanded dramatically, with more people holding brokerage and crypto accounts, for example, Levine said.
In his opinion, Monarch stands out for a couple of reasons. For one, it is a subscription product.
“One thing I always hated about Mint was when it suggested the objectively wrong credit card to me,” Levine said. “It has all my transaction data, it should indicate the card with the best rewards for me. Monarch is configured to never compromise what is best for the user in favor of advertising. “
Second, Monarch’s goal is to serve as an infrastructure for its customers. To do that, you need to monitor all of someone’s finances.
“They need to track checks, credit cards, brokerage, real estate, and crypto,” he said. “Monarch is committed to doing that. It’s an incredibly painful problem, and even though Monarch is a new entrant in space, I think they have clearly parted ways in that dimension. “