Online Social Savings Leader Smartypig Becomes SaaS with GoalSaver

Online Social Savings Leader Smartypig Becomes SaaS with GoalSaver

Last night, I exchanged a few emails with Jon Gaskell – Co-Founder of Smartypig.  Jon gave me the heads up on today’s major announcements from the digital leader of goal-oriented social savings: a rebranding, a product launch, a new engagement model with an extended market -the whole worldwide financial services industry-.

For those of you who are not already familiar with the fun, engaging, social Smartypig service I invite you to watch my video interview with Bob Weinschenk – former CEO and Mike Ferrari – Co-Founder.

In my opinion, Smartypig is today one of the very best examples of gamification in banking.

In essence, until now Smartypig’s engagement model was to partner with one key financial institution in the countries or geographical areas judged as strategic to the growth of the company or more likely to adopt the service.  Over the years, Smartypig built strong partnerships in Australia with ANZ and in the US with BBVA Compass.

About Smartypig
First of all, I invite you to watch this video to find out more about ‘The pig’.

Key Announcements
In this press release, Smartypig officially announces:

* A rebranding:
 their new corporate name is ‘Social Money Systems

* A new product ‘GoalSaver’:
 GoalSaver helps any bank in the world replace its typical savings vehicles with its own customized version of ourSmartyPig technology – including social networking features, opportunities for additional revenue, and a fun and intuitive UI.

More on GoalSaver
* Architecture – SaaS: GoalSaver is a fully-customizable product available as a service.

* New Target Market(s):
 with GoalSaver, Smartypig is targeting not only the financial institutions, but also the merchants and other industries such as education or payment processing.

* Leveraging Smartypig’s features:
 including Customizable User Interface, Financial Literacy, Goals, Dashboard, The Activity Stream, Friend Activity, Auto-Sharing, Shared Goal Page, Customized Redemption, Business Intelligence.

* Revenue Model:
 a small one-time implementation fee for the bank and a small monthly fee paid by the bank for each customer using the service. All revenue created through merchant relationships, cross-selling other products, fees, spread, float, advertising, etc., belongs to the FI.

Q&A Session with Smartypig’s Co-Founder Jon Gaskell
Those announcements look very promising, but they also trigger many questions on Smartypig’s international growth strategy and the challenges and opportunities for an online finance SaaS product hosted in the US.

I invite you to read my Q&A session with Jon from last night.

Jon, it looks like you have been busy last year. Congrats to you and Mike (Ferrari) for this new development and for reaching a new key company milestone! I have a few questions.

Does it mean that you totally changed your engagement model and won’t be seeking a strong banking relationship per country / area?
“Yes, GoalSaver will be available to any financial services company that wants to utilize it. Think of it as the heart and soul of SmartyPig’s technology pointed directly where the scale is: at the world’s biggest banks (and other industries), using their brand specifications and their current customers, as well as the customers they hope to acquire.”

You mentioned that your relationship with BBVA is not impacted. Can you please elaborate?
“SmartyPig continues to be the backbone of the company, and aside from new features will not change from being the gold standard when it comes to saving up for specific goals. BBVA has made a considerable investment in our company and has substantial equity. As an investor they like that we
have created a model that can scale quickly. As a partner, GoalSaver opens up their foreign markets for innovation and gives them additional streams of revenue.”

What about other relationships like ANZ?
“ANZ has been a great partner. We’ve won multiple Cannex awards for our innovation together, and because of that fact the interest in Australia for our technology is high. We’re hoping to figure out a solution where we can maximize the opportunity and are discussing it at this time.”

What is your strategy outside the US? Can your technology be hosted on premises? 
“Any bank, any country, any language, any currency. We are the social network inside the bank. A bank could host, yes, but they would not get the benefit of the on-going releases and our ability to support them.”

How will your redemption programme work abroad?
“Customizable redemption options can include the FI¹s existing products and accounts (prepaid or debit cards, investment accounts, etc.) as well as merchant partnerships based on what the bank wants – it is completely customizable.”

How valuable is this new service to financial institutions?
“Extremely. This is the most rich data a bank could ever gather on a customer. A customer saving for a downpayment on a home may be offered a home loan, lines of credit, insurance, a deal from a furniture or home improvement merchant, etc.- and at the precise right time. These customers are sharing their aspirations… and when they want to reach them down to the exact day and exact penny, while sharing the whole experience with friends and family.”

Join the Discussion (Here or on Facebook)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this announcement and the topic of goal-oriented online savings which in my opinion is one of the most valuable ‘innovative’ services a bank can provide to its customers, arguably even more valuable and engaging than a PFM tool.

So, in your opinion how valuable is Smartypig’s new GoalSaver product?  How appealing is the SaaS model to your financial institution?  Would you rather build it or buy it? 

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