There is a lot of competition out there in startup land, and often times similar companies launch around the same time and are pitted against one another in head-to-head competition. This was the case in 2007 when personal finance startup Mint launched less than a year after competitor Wesabe. Over time, it would be Mint that would win over the hearts and minds of the Web, leading to a hefty acquisition by Intuit, and the shuttering of Wesabe. So what was it that helped Mint emerge victorious?
Friday morning, Wesabe co-founder Marc Hedlund posted a blog titled “Why Wesabe Lost to Mint” in which he explains his opinions on just that. From his perspective (which he admits is anything but un-biased), Mint won because they hustled to make users happy – not one of the other “utter crap” reasons he disagrees with.
“Focus on what really matters: making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, and helping them as much as you can after that.”
– Marc Hedlund
“A domain name doesn’t win you a market; launching second or fifth or tenth doesn’t lose you a market,” says Hedlund. “You can’t blame your competitors or your board or the lack of or excess of investment. Focus on what really matters: making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, and helping them as much as you can after that. If you do those better than anyone else out there you’ll win.”
Interestingly enough, Hedlund doesn’t believe either startup has truly “won” because customers still need a better Web-based personal finance solution. Mint may have been acquired and Wesabe may have folded, but Hedlund says needs are still not being met.
“No one, in my view, solved the financial problems of consumers. No one even got close,” he says. “Because our products existed during a deep financial crisis, consumers everywhere cut back, saved more, and tried to reduce their debt. Neither product had any significant impact beyond what the overall economy led people to do anyways.”
“There is no Google nor Amazon of personal finance,” he adds, encouraging entrepreneurs to continue attacking the personal finance space.
What are some of the other ways company A beats company B? Hedlund says Mint’s hustle was Wesabe’s downfall. Leave us a comment below with other ways startups can win the day over worthy competition.