Moneytree Adds Web App, Plans IPO After Japanese Bank Funding

  • Consumer financial tracking app maker also providing platform
  • Targeting 2016 for expansion in `southern hemisphere' country

An application maker funded by Japan’s three biggest lenders and the venture arm of Inc. is adding a Web app and expects to eventually sell shares to the public as it expands outside the country.

Moneytree KK is making its service available to Internet users via browsers starting Tuesday after introducing an iPhone and iPad app in Japan that tracks income and expenses. By logging securely into accounts, a user can see their net worth in real-time based on what they owe on credit cards and have on their banking and debit cards.

“We expect to do an IPO,” Paul Chapman, co-founder and chief executive officer, said in Tokyo, without disclosing a timeframe. “Going IPO here is still a lot cheaper here than the U.S.”

He said a lot of companies in Japan will be completing initial public offerings before the city hosts the 2020 Olympic Games.

Increasing sales is the key for reaching the next stage toward an IPO, he said. Moneytree’s apps for the web and users of Apple Inc. devices are free. The company receives revenue from a corporate expense-tracking function and by providing its financial data platform, MT Link, to companies such as Yayoi Co., an accounting software provider owned by leasing and financial services company Orix Corp.

Overseas Expansion

“Their success will depend on how many other ways they can find to generate revenue,” said Shunsuke Hayashi, business producer at Dream Incubator Inc., a Tokyo-listed venture consulting business founded by Koichi Hori, a two-decade veteran of Boston Consulting Group Inc.

Tokyo-based Moneytree also expects to begin offering services outside Japan for the first time next year in a “southern hemisphere” country, said Chapman. He declined to say which nation.

The ability to win trust is one of Moneytree’s key advantages over competitors, Chapman said. He said the company’s app model wins consumer’s confidence because it doesn’t use their data for marketing or any purpose other than providing it to the individual user. The app also uses artificial intelligence to categorize spending, letting users know at a glance how much they’ve spent on food or taxis, for example.

The company worked for years to gain the trust of partners, including the venture capital arms of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., said Chapman.

Companies have announced 99 initial public offerings in Japan this year totaling about $16 billion, the most since 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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