It’s ironic that I am working on a financial app. Like most people, I have a complicated relationship with money. I grew up with very little of it and, despite desperately needing more of it, never sought advice or did anything smart to plan for my future.
And of course money is generally a taboo subject. That’s too bad. And not helpful. I wanted to make money less mystifying, less scary, more empowering. Even fun.
I became interested in personal finance after my husband and I were discussing how much it cost to be “us,” and how much we needed to continue to live the way we were living.
My background in finance was helpful, but I was surprised that after a couple of months, I was still rummaging around for lost bank statements, utility bills, grocery receipts and trying to decide what I wanted/ should spend in each category. I learned Quicken and checked out some popular apps – great for snapshots but not really for an ongoing relationship. Surprisingly, I still found it easier to analyze a company for work than ourselves!
Then, coincidently, I had a conversation with a longtime friend Rich Zemel about the optimal way people could keep up with their money without having to hire a 24/7 business manager. Rich also happened to be a leading expert in the field of artificial intelligence. He pointed out that everyone defines financial happiness differently—and that it would be ideal if an app could let people ask anything they wanted, and in their own words. And also good if they could consume the information at their own pace—in spoonfuls or all at once. Rich became XOBI’s co-founder.
This app represents a true collaboration by a group of talented folks with deep expertise in various fields. We all have different heroes who inspire us, from Elon Musk (the X in XOBI is a nod to him) to minimalist design elements from Apple (our Creative Director got an Apple tattoo in 1997!).
We are an eclectic group; some of us have had whole careers prior to XOBI. Our CTO, for instance, has serious banking and security experience as a former CTO at JP Morgan Chase. And some of us are finishing our PhD’s studying things like machine learning and image understanding.
We are also unusual in that we first sought out a partnership with a bank. We wanted to create something new, but we wanted the safety, legitimacy, and leverage of the many banking elements that have been working well. Moreover, we found they were just as excited as we were about changing the user experience.
It’s been a gift to have countless hours of discussions and debates how to reimagine the way we think about our money. Everything from the architecture and security of our systems, to all the design elements has been carefully thought out, challenged, tested, criticized, debated, and built again.
Halfway into this, I realized we were part of much larger mission of harnessing technology in service of humanity. Our small contribution would be to give consumers the tools, their curated data, and the understanding to make informed decisions about how to spend their money.
Sometimes it feels like the system at large does not want you to have this data. The powers that be are fearful that you will stop spending impulsively or blindly. But shouldn’t you be in charge? The best version of ourselves is where we have the most insights, the most access and the most control over your money…not them.
XOBI is on a path to change banking. XOBI’s modern digital library aggregates your existing credit and bank accounts, and will permanently house your data for as long as you want a XOBI account. By adding in sharing capabilities in LIFE EVENTS (because our transactions are indeed journals of our lives), we hope to shift the conversation from how much money we have to how we are spending it — and ask if that makes us happy.
To get in all the features and tools we wanted, we are building proprietary financial products, too. The XOBI Credit Card is just the beginning.
If you want to be smarter, more in control, and less stressed without a lot effort, we hope you try XOBI. We are looking forward to seeing what you think.
Tracy Collins Co-Founder & CEO