Personal Capital Shows the Affluent All Their Money in One Place

4/25/12Follow @e_craig

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worry about covering the overhead that a standard financial services company does, Harris says.

Personal Capital currently has ten full-time financial advisors on staff. Down the road, the company plans to add on more premium services.

So far, 10,000 users are tracking $2 billion worth of assets through Personal Capital. Harris declined to state how many users were having the company’s advisers manage their money.

Harris and a couple other employees put up the initial $2 million dollars to fund the operation. Being able to bootstrap the company was hugely helpful, he says, because the team was able to spend time building their services without a lot of pressure from outside investors. “In the early life stage of any startup, there’s a reasonable amount of flopping around. We had the luxury of not having to set our direction too soon.”

In its Series A round, led by Institutional Venture Partners, Personal Capital brought in $10 million; in its Series B, it raised another $15 million from IVP and Venrock. The company had brought in all $25 million before it launched last November, and close to half of it is still in the bank.

Personal Capital dashboard on the iPad

Harris was pleased that IVP was willing to invest at such an early stage. “They’re typically a later stage firm, but they made an exception, partly because they’re intrigued with the size of this opportunity,” Harris says.

And the size of the opportunity is staggering. Finance makes up 16 percent of the U.S. GDP, and the consumer piece of it has to be close to ten percent, he says.

Though Personal Capital definitely has its fair share of competitors, from E*Trade to Charles Schwab to Mint to the online services provided by any of the consumer banks, Harris hasn’t seen another company that has provided all these services, or that isn’t tied to a brick and mortar store.

“I think what’s really unique about what we’re doing is the integration,” he says. “It’s one place to see and do all of your financial activity.”

But, then again, there’s a reason that no one else has integrated all of those services, from financial planning to straight banking to credit. “We’re breaking the cardinal rule of startups: focus,” Harris says. “The bet is that despite our multiple focuses we will be able to pull it off that we can build a business. So far, I’m very pleased at our ability to do it.”

Elise Craig is a freelance reporter based in San Francisco. Follow @e_craig

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