The competition was stiff and the challenge itself was arduous, but after ten 6-minute demos to ten different audiences, Phroogal emerged triumphant in the 2014 Bank Innovation DEMOvation Challenge.
San Francisco-based Phroogal is a question-and-answer portal for financial advice — a sort of Quora for the financially curious. The service is currently in beta testing.
The first DEMOvation Challenge was held last Tuesday at Bank Innovation 2014 in Seattle.
Conference attendees were divided into ten groups that made their way around the room listening to six-minute pitches from each fintech hopeful. Afterward, participants voted via text message and Phroogal emerged as the clear winner.
Phroogal, founded by Jason Vitug and Max Martines, was initially launched as an Indiegogo project. The approximately $78,000 it raised between last fall constitute its sole funding to date. (The goal of the campaign was $75,000.)
The platform is not considered by its founders to constitute a social network in and of itself, but Phroogal is very much a social media product and ties into other popular platforms. During their presentation, the Phroogal founders said that they believed the “social media wars” were over and that the dominant platforms today will be the dominant platforms for the foreseeable future. (We will publish a video of the demo soon.)
Users join Phroogal and connect to friends, and then begin asking and answering questions, or just searching for topics of interest. Some questions that may be sensitive, for example those related to credit and debt, may be asked anonymously. Questions and answers can be voted up or down, which influences their visibility to other Phroogal users.
The founders wrote the following in their application to the DEMOvation Challenge: “Student loans, bad credit scores, bankruptcy, mortgages, loans, etc.- these are all phrases we hear every single day. What site does an internet user who has one of those problems go to for reliable advice right now? None. We believe the biggest issue in financial literacy in America isn’t the lack of resources, banks, or products, but instead the lack of accessibility and discoverability of them.”
After Phroogal’s victory, a few conference attendees wondered what the company’s business model was. The most likely answer is that Phroogal sells leads from its users to issuers of financial products.
The other nine presenters were CUneXus, Fiserv, LICUOS, meSuma, My Virtual Strongbox, nCino, Nerture, Sedicii and Usher by Microstrategy.Like This Post