IMWorth hopes to clean up on screen scraping
By Rod Perlmutter, LocalBusiness.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 27, 2000(LocalBusiness.com) — IMWorth Inc.’s business plan is based on the premise that, within a year or so, every day you turn on your computer, the first thing you’ll do is use a “screen scraper.”
No, the Kansas City, Mo.-based company doesn’t care about that half-inch of dust you let accumulate on your screen. (Your mother, however, would be appalled.)
It sells a software application to financial service providers who use “screen scrapers” – data aggregators which retrieve financial account information from the Websites of banks, brokerages, credit card companies, travel sites and other institutions.
Screen scrapers are the next big thing in financial services. According to a U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray report published earlier this year, the number of individuals using aggregation services is expected to increase from fewer than 1 million today to 90 million over the next five years.
IMWorth is hoping to be the key link between the financial service provider and the screen scraper. Working with the data provided by the screen scraper, IMWorth will provide updates of much of the account information in the user’s personal financial statement, such as the balances in his bank checking account or on his credit card.
By the end of this year, Yonker said, IMWorth expects more than 100,000 people will be using IMWorth’s services to help manage their finances online.
Pamela Yonker, IMWorth’s marketing and product development manager, said IMWorth thinks the applications it sells to banks and other financial service providers will encourage a daily, ongoing relationship with their customers.
For example, using the firm’s MarketingChannel, a bank will be able to send messages to all customers whose certificates of deposit are maturing in the next 30 days, to recommend other products to reinvest the proceeds, Yonker said. The messages, delivered through the IMWorth application, will provide a link for the users to click to go to a section in the sponsor’s site to receive more information about that product, or apply online for a product, or to actually make a transaction.
IMWorth also allows users to manually enter account information that is not available on the Web, such as data on real estate or personal property, including cars, boats, collectibles and other items.
“Our net worth application is structured in a way that a user could see a complete and up-to-the-minute financial statement, just like one a user would provide to a bank in applying for a loan,” Yonker said.
On Aug. 28, IMWorth announced plans to launch MarketingChannel, which Yonker said is currently in beta testing and should be available to the public within a month. The company hopes that the product will evolve into a “financial product exchange” by serving as a vehicle for distribution of products from IMWorth financial sponsors, who will broker products from outside their firms.
IMWorth was founded in December 1998 by John K. Goodwin, its CEO, and Sean K. Snyder, a board member who is involved in several business incubator projects in Kansas City and San Francisco through his business, SKS Ventures of San Francisco.
IMWorth received funding from iEmerge Ventures LLC, a Kansas City, Mo. based business incubator, and other investors. IEmerge, founded in January, has invested $250,000 to $500,000 in each of seven companies it has funded so far. The incubator identified IMWorth as being the “farthest along.”
Brad Cohen, iEmerge’s general partner, said he was impressed by Goodwin and his management team.
“I’ve known them for some time and I know they are able to carry out a good business plan,” Cohen said. “Their plan to partner with larger financial groups, being able to offer integration with financial institutions directly, is a smart approach.”
Much smarter than, say, allowing all that dust to sit on your expensive computer. Somebody really ought to tell your mom.
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COMPANY: IMWorth Inc
PRODUCT/SERVICE: Data aggregation software for financial services.
FOUNDED: December 1998.
MANAGEMENT: John Goodwin, chief executive officer; Gary Abram, chief operating officer; James Lloyd, chief financial officer.
INVESTORS: The company has been through its first and second rounds of financing from angel and institutional investors, including iEmege Ventures LLC. Total amount raised was not disclosed.
REVENUES: Company declined to state revenue, but estimates it will be in the black during 2001.
STRATEGIC PARTNERS: IMWorth has formal agreements with Advent Software and data processing firm Jack Henry & Associates. Other major partnership announcements will be forthcoming, the company said.
CUSTOMERS: Through its distribution agreement with Jack Henry, IMWorth will have access to approximately 25 million customers at more than 3,000 banks and credit unions. IMWorth’s User Application is currently available on Consumer Financial Network’s http://www.youdecide.com, under the “Personal Finances” tab. IMWorth expects to have in excess of 100,000 users by the end of the year.
COMPETITORS: Ameritrade’s OnMoney competes in some ways with them.
WHAT KEEPS THEM AWAKE AT NIGHT: “Balancing sponsor insight with customer control,” Goodwin said. “IMWorth’s responsibility is to ensure that financial service providers enhance customer relationships, while ensuring users’ financial information and privacy is within each customer’s control.”
CONTACT: Pamela Yonker, 313 Lawrence Avenue, Kansas City, Mo. 64111 Phone: 816-xxx-xxxx ext. 11 Email: email@example.com
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