This is essentially what Edinburgh-based Money Dashboard has created with its free personal financial data platform, which has attracted 100,000 users since it was launched in 2010.
“We find that most people bank online and have lots of different accounts where they check balances in lots of different places,” explains Money Dashboard chief executive Steve Tigar. “It’s very unwieldy to manage and get a true view of where you’re at financially. So the first benefit is that we pull all that data together into one place to help people take control of their finances and make the right decisions.
“Beyond that, the clever bit that people love about our system is that we can basically figure out what the different bank transactions are for. So if there’s a transaction at Sainsbury’s, we’ll know if it’s for fuel or groceries. We categorise the different areas of spend, so people know how much they're spending on groceries, public transport, entertainment and so on. Ultimately this is how people get control of their finances. They know where their money is going, so they can then budget more effectively and make plans.”
The company recently completed an equity crowdfunding campaign in which 1,700 investors from six continents invested £1.5 million in Money Dashboard, exceeding the company’s initial target of £1 million.
We have the second largest financial centre in the UK, an area that ranks above the likes of Madrid, Milan and even Moscow on a global level. We are a major centre for asset servicing, have one of the world's top fund management hubs and excel in services ranging from brokerage to corporate finance.Steve Tigar, chief executive, Money Dashboard
The cash injection, led by London-based private equity fund manager Calculus Capital, will be used to grow the company’s 22-strong team at Edinburgh’s CodeBase technology incubator, ahead of new ‘open banking’ legislation. This involves banks opening up customer data to regulated third parties – like Money Dashboard – and will give consumers more choice on where and how they manage their money.
Since moving to Edinburgh in 2013 from its original home on a farm in the Borders, Money Dashboard has benefitted from the city’s strong start-up community and ‘fintech’ – financial technology – sector.
“Edinburgh is often overlooked as a result of the booming London fintech scene, but still has an enormous presence in the world of finance,” Tigar says. “We have the second largest financial centre in the UK, an area that ranks above the likes of Madrid, Milan and even Moscow on a global level. We are a major centre for asset servicing, have one of the world's top fund management hubs and excel in services ranging from brokerage to corporate finance.
“We are at the centre of Scotland's finance industry, a major player on the UK and European scene and an important part of the global industry. So when it comes to providing expertise for the fintech scene, we are not left wanting.”
The City of Edinburgh Council’s Invest Edinburgh team has supported Money Dashboard with profiles in print, web and film platforms including its Invest Edinburgh magazine and financial services film to promote the city’s financial services and tech clusters.
“The Invest Edinburgh team has been very supportive of us throughout some of the major milestones we reached this year, like when we were awarded Best Personal Finance App at the British Bank Awards and during our successful funding round on Crowdcube,” Tigar explains.
“Their ability to profile and amplify the achievements of Edinburgh’s start-ups is valuable in helping us reach a global audience of investors, potential customers and possibly even new additions to our team.”
Award-winning quality of life
With its headcount projected to expand significantly, Edinburgh’s quality of life is also a major advantage in talent attraction and retention.
“There are so many factors that make Edinburgh a wonderful city to live and work in,” Tigar says. “Our renowned financial services ecosystem, flourishing tech scene and selection of world-class universities all contribute towards making it so. The city really comes alive in August for the international festival, making Edinburgh a deserving winner of its title as second in the world for quality of life.”
Being a resident of CodeBase has also helped the business excel since it moved in 2015.
“With so many complementary start-ups surrounding us, there are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another,” Tigar continues. “It won’t be long before our next scale-ups flourish to join previous unicorns born in Edinburgh.”
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.