Wyze.me is the first fully automatic PFM app in Hungary founded by György Mudri and Tamás Gémes. Their mission is to increase financial literacy through easy-to-use and automatic technology solutions in the CEE region. They got their first investment from Kitchen Budapest in June 2015. Last month the team came out with the public beta so we made an interview with Tamás who is a co-founder and CTO at Wyze.me.
From customer point of view, why would I use your services?
It allows you to get a picture of your finances easily and automatically by spending as little as 5 minutes a month. You can synchronize your online accounts (checking account, credit card, debit card) with a single click. Then Wyze.me categorizes your transactions into friendly categories so you see can your finances in a slick, modern web and mobile app. Realizing there’s no one size fits all in categorization, it offers the ability to customize the category tree and to teach the categorization engine your preferences with a simple and intuitive drag-n-drop solution. Based on recent feedback, besides the bank synchronization this ability to intuitively teach the AI provides the most delight to our users.
Is it safe?
Absolutely. In fact it’s even safer than Mint.com or similar European solutions. We have developed a client-side bank synchronization plugin that makes sure that the banking credentials never leave the user’s computer. All that is saved in the cloud is anonymous transactions with no personal ID attached to them. This is perfectly enough to provide an easy-to-use and smart PFM solution without us ever having to see the user’s credentials. This also makes sure Wyze.me is fully complaint with Hungarian National Bank regulations as well as individual banking terms and conditions. (Most other PFMs require the users to sign a waiver that compliance with their own bank is their sole responsibility, basically forcing them to break contracts.)
How about banks? Are they open for this kind of partnerships?
Due to the technical solution of client-side bank synchronization we didn’t have to seek consent from banks so far, since all that happens in the background is the user signs in on their online banking site from their PC, albeit from a hidden browser. However, we are in negotiations with a few of the more open and innovative banks in Hungary and Germany that believe in the Banking as a Service business model and we are very much in favor of partnerships (e.g. API, white-label, co-branding).
What kind of opportunities do you see in the future?
The last two years have showed, especially in Germany/Western Europe that a PFM solution is fastly becoming a must-have in the portfolio of every financial institution if they want to serve Millenials. It’s enough to think of the recent launch of FinanzPlaner by Deutsche Bank which got very positive feedback. They were able to implement this PFM in less than 6 months due to their deal with a PFM startup. We believe this is not the era of startups vs. banks anymore but a time for cooperation.
We also plan to launch other fintech apps based on the engines we have already developed (financial aggregator API, intelligence API for auto-categorization and meta-data generation, web and mobile PFM UI frameworks) that will help people save more, have better credit and generally improve their financial life in the CEE region. We are currently seeking financial institution partnerships to make these happen.
How many people are working on this project?
We have a 5 person team including the co-founders. The team is based in Szeged and Budapest.
I know that you attended Bankathon (FinTech Hackathon, this year organized within FinTech Week Hamburg), would you share your experiences?
Last year it was organized in Frankfurt, and we actually built our German PFM prototype there. It’s a well organized event with some really great teams. Participating in these hackathons is a great way to showcase some of our new ideas. It’s also a good way to get a sense of where the industry is headed in general, what kinds of fintech innovations are possible with today’s technology in Europe. We also participated in the Berlin Hackathon of BNP Paribas in June where we showcased our microsavings app prototype with smart auto-budgeting. We strongly believe in startup mobility, and since the CEE region is so connected to Germany we cannot but encourage any Fintech startup from the region to participate.
Do you have any kind of plan to expand in other countries as well?
Germany is a strong focus for us besides Hungary but as I mentioned we are looking for an established brand to partner with, so it’s likely you will not see a PFM with the Wyze.me brand, but a partner’s brand. However, the own branded solution we do plan to expand in the CEE region.