PocketSmith co-founder Jason Leong says his company is
focused on helping people make better decisions with their
money. Photo by Craig Baxter.
When PocketSmith co-founder Jason Leong heard Xero
intended winding down its personal finance product, he quickly
got in touch with chief executive Rod Drury.
Following discussions between the two companies, the
cloud-based online accounting company felt PocketSmith was
the ''right fit'' to take on its Xero Personal customers.
Last month, it recommended PocketSmith to those customers and
users have been shifting over ever since.
PocketSmith, which was founded in June, 2008, and is based in
Dunedin and Auckland, offers a simple budgeting software tool
that can help people manage their finances.
Users were primarily from the United States (about 65%) with
the rest spread throughout 180 countries.
It has 85,000 users at present.
Xero Personal's users were mostly from New Zealand, Australia
and the United Kingdom.
Since announcing its closure, the company disclosed it had
12,000 paying customers.
Like Xero Personal, PocketSmith offered live bank feeds, and
its coverage extended to about 15,000 institutions worldwide.
It was probably the only other personal finance application
in New Zealand, Mr Leong believed.
PocketSmith was a ''minnow'' compared with Xero, which Mr
Leong described as a remarkable company that was ''growing
''It's probably the first of the massive Silicon Valley-style
companies here in New Zealand,'' he said.
Personal finance was a ''really exciting space'' and he was
fascinated with what was going on in that sphere.
Consumers were become more educated, they understood the
tools better and they understood how powerful the cloud could
PocketSmith was focused on helping people make better
decisions with their money, he said.
What the company did was unique, especially in terms of cash
projections, and there was constant refinement, based on
feedback from customers.
There were some ''amazing stories'' among its users, which
ranged from octogenarians to ''famous people'', including a
fashion designer in New York and her celebrity chef husband.
Mr Leong recently heard of a family who got together once a
week to use PocketSmith to plan their finances.
''Those stories really make our day,'' he said.
When PocketSmith first started, Mr Leong admitted he was
enamoured with the idea of running a start-up and ''just
wanted to have a cool company''.
A lot of younger entrepreneurs coming through now had a much
clearer vision, he said.
He expected 2014 to be a big year for PocketSmith and that
the company would keep growing. It had doubled in size at
least every year for the past few years.