Balancion, is a new Finnish startup that will help you see the complete picture of your personal finance. At the moment, the service is in closed alpha and very little is known of it. Jussi Muurikainen, the CEO and founder of the company has posted a long message into Balancion’s Facebook page to tell a little about the service.
In the message Muurikainen outlines the basis on which the company was founded and what its goals are. The idea for the service has grown from his personal frustration to understand one’s financial situation (income, expenses and the distribution there in). He, like I, use an excel sheet to keep count of your personal expenses and through that try to understand where your money is going and where you’re getting it. It is usable in my opinion, but there are better network externalities in doing this online. Speaking from this perspective, I can say that this is a service I’m looking forwards to using.
Like I mentioned above, the service at the moment is in closed alpha meaning that the basic service itself is ready but still being tested and used by the developers themselves. The service has been developed by Idean Enterprises. Muurikainen also states that he conducted a research with IRO Research to determine the need for such a service in late 2008. Regarding the finance he states that the concept was already back then in such a shape that enough public and private funding was gathered for the project to go ahead. No distinctive sources are named for the private funding.
At the moment the service is only in Finnish and it seems that there are no plans for now to make it international. I’m assuming the prototyping and development will be done in co-operation with the Finnish beta users. According to Balancion’s Facebook page, they are launching the closed beta September 15th.
One interesting change that Balancion might be able to make happen regarding the Finnish bank system is the opening of its data to third party services. Muurikainen has not given any statements on this yet, but hints into that direction in conversation in the Facebook Fan page. One of the commenters to his “3 most important features” -post stated that no users will adopt the service unless financial data will freely and automatically flow from the banks into the system and to this Muurikainen stated that take this as given “for now”. If this really means what it probably does – the service is going to become huge as it will be the first to take advantage of the huge data the Finnish banks are sitting on. In other countries, US for example, banks have been giving up their data to third party services for quite a while already (despite us calling them backwards for using cheques!).
So all in all, a very functional service and if done correctly – a very useful one for many. I personally look to see some degree of social integration among users in a way Mint.com does for example. Furthermore, I’m looking forwards to the business model of the service but I’m guessing it’s a freemium one.