The goal of modern retail in the digital age is to make it as easy as possible to shop. Making sure consumers see the right things on their screens, keeping it as fast as feasible to get the goods into a customer's hands and making checkout time so invisible as to almost be an afterthought — digital has brought new meaning to the word "easy" when it comes to buying for consumers.
On the one hand, this is great news for consumers — who have an army of merchants madly dashing after them trying to make sure they are always seeing the right things on their screens and buying with the bare minimum of taps, swipes and hurdles when it comes time to pay.
On the other hand, sometimes it can be just a little too easy to shop — especially for the vast, vast majority of shoppers who don’t have an unlimited budget to spend.
One of the good things about the bad old days of in-store only retail (from a consumer’s point of view) is that the impulse buying was pretty much something one could only do while in a store, usually while they were standing by the register. Now anyone with a laptop, tablet or phone (i.e. everyone) can casually shop while they wait out the commercial.
In fact, with the “buy buttons” springing up all over social media, consumers are primed to shop — even if they started out looking for cat videos, or pictures of their friend’s wedding, or a text message. And where it’s easy to shop, it’s easy for consumers to overspend.
“With more and more commerce moving to online and mobile, people are looking for two things: convenience and trust. The one-click 'buy' buttons solve the convenience problem – sometimes too convenient for impulsive shoppers,” Moven COO Ramy Serageldin noted.
Moven wants to help consumers benefit from the increased convenience, without conveniencing themselves right into the poorhouse. It is an online debit account paired with a mobile app that tracks user spending. It then offers real-time alerts and recommendations for users about how and when they can spend their money, without the risk of running out entirely by the end of the month.
Moven is not, itself, a bank — the debit accounts users can use (they can also link an existing bank account with another bank) are backed by Kansas-based CBW Bank, an FDIC member.
"Moven is built on the premise that mindful spending and real-time insight into your spending habits creates a significantly more positive every day money experience. With this approach, Moven can empower people to change their spending behavior for the better and improve their financial wellness over time. Other debit and financial wellness products just haven’t broken out of that budgeting mindset yet," Vincent Bahk, Chief Customer Officer at Moven, told PYMNTS.
And for Moven, the innovation isn’t just about prompting consumers about their spending — it’s about actually using the technology to change consumer behavior.
“Everyone knows they should save more, and make a budget, but we get overwhelmed and give up quickly. As a result, most budgeting and personal finance apps just end up focusing on negative reinforcement or scolding consumers when they overspend. It certainly doesn’t give the user a reason to engage more than once or twice a month, let alone every day like Moven," Bahk noted.
Moven, on the other hand, is focused on giving users that reason to engage - by making the process positive and gameified - such that consumer feels good when they do save and stick to a budget - not bad when they don't.
Examples of that process include “Lock Away Savings” updates, wherein users are informed they have underspent enough that it makes sense to lock away some of that funding into savings. The phone then rewards the user by glowing in a “cheerful and soothing" shade of green.
The gamification model is also attend to moving customers toward saving for long-term goals. That includes letting users set up “wish lists” that are easily pulled from places like Pinterest (sublimating that need to tap a buy button when one sees something they like) and to “break the glass” on their locked away savings when they’ve reached a saving milestone they’ve preselected.
"Financial health isn't about having a huge bank account stashed away somewhere; it’s about understanding where your money is coming and going even if that amount isn’t particularly high," Bahk explained. "For most users, Moven can empower them to change their spending behavior for the better and improve their financial wellness over time, leading towards more money in their bank account."
Founded in 2011, Moven has been available for wide download since March 2014. It snapped up $4.4 million in seed funding prior to this latest round, according to CrunchBase. Its earlier investors included Kevin Plank, Esther Dyson and David Rose, and another $8 million Series A funding round, led by SBT Venture Capital in July of last year.
This week, Moven has announced its latest round — $12 million in a Series B financing round led by Route 66 Ventures.
"With this latest round of funding, Moven will continue to bring its approach to financial wellness and managing money on the move to existing consumers and markets, with additional locations in the pipeline. It will also aggressively expand its consumer banking experience to include savings and credit," Bahk told PYMNTS.
Bahnk is one of two senior executives to join the company’s management team recently. He is joined by Greg Midtbo, Moven's new managing director, enterprise, who will oversee all global B2B operations.
Investment Tracker for Week Ended 10-9-15
The week that ended Oct. 9 saw one big transaction among the universe covered by our Investment Tracker, and it dominated the logistics space. DSV A/S agreed to buy UTi Worldwide in a transaction worth as much as $1.35 billion, with an eye on the Danish Logistics player boosting its reach in the United States air and freight market. That would be a premium of as much as 50 percent over the UTi pre-announcement stock price.
This is the second time DSV has approached UTi, with an initial overture made back in December of last year, one that got scuttled as the potential target’s stock price rose to a price too rich for DSV’s taste. Some financial trade reports have noted expectations by Wall Street that a competitive offer from a DSV rival might be in the works.
Much further down the line we can see that there was some funding for AppDirect, the cloud software provider, secured, as the company raised $140 million. Of that tally, JPMorgan led the investing activity, and all of AppDirect’s investors joined in, eight months after the company got its last investing round. The fundraising continued a bit further down the line, as Code42, a U.S. data storage company, raised $85 million from investors, with that investment aimed at boosting staff levels or making acquisitions. Below are the Top 5 funding moves through the week that was.
The year to date by deal size, as a reminder of what we’ve seen in 2015, remains the province of logistics and industrial activity, both here in the United States and abroad.
With an eye on the B2B space, excluding large deals, with a rolling weekly calculation, the rebound continues off recent nadirs of $200 million, toward a retracement roughly halfway up to the peaks seen earlier this year. That’s a relatively quick advance in a relatively short amount of time, though it remains to be seen whether that rebound has staying power into the end of the year.
The closing months of 2015 may be rocky ones for the Investment Tracker, as China continues to weigh on the financial world’s mind – not to mention the widely expected (but nonetheless, vague in terms of timing) rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
For more Investment updates, click here.