Remember MyBankTracker.com, the New York-based online banking and financial information site which we featured earlier this year? Singapore now has its version in MoneyLine.sg.
MoneyLine.sg is a comprehensive online personal banking and finance comparison portal in Singapore offering consumers free access to a centralized database of “credible, accurate and unbiased information” covering a range of financial, personal banking and insurance products. It was founded in May this year by Giora Kanner, a 20-year veteran in managing organizations in Asia Pacific such as mobile Internet solutions provider Comverse, unified communications solutions provider Radvision and capital equipment maker Orbotech.
A New Look At Personal Financial Management
According to Giora, there’s been a recent sea change in the way people view personal financial management. Over the years, he observed that more and more consumers are willing and prefer to analyze and make personal banking and financial decisions on their own using search, comparison and other online services, which led to him conceptualizing MoneyLine.sg.
“In today’s conditions consumers are surrounded with many options and alternatives – the growth in Internet usage, the sheer volume of information that can be found via DIY search from multiple sources of information, combined with a general decline in trust in “traditional advisers”,” says Giora. “These factors are all pushing consumers to take charge on their own and seek new and better resources of information in order to improve their situation and to get a better deal.”
This change can be attributed to the 2007 financial crisis, and is one of the reasons that sparked Giora to explore the idea for MoneyLine.sg. At that time, banks typically offered close to zero and sometimes zero interest rates. Giora himself was looking to invest some money and could not find a one-stop, transparent financial information portal – such as gocompare.com in the US – that would help him make the right investment in Singapore. Instead, he spent an inordinate amount of time running various searches across at least 10 different sites. “It was painful,” he declares. So, he decided to build such a portal himself.
It’s not the first such site in Singapore, but it prides itself as the most comprehensive and extensive amongst its competitors, such as Compare.sg, SGRate.com and LoanGuru.com.sg. MoneyLine.sg‘s main advantage over its competitors is its “Multi-Dimensional Comparison Engine”, which takes into consideration several parameters weighted according to a user’s personal preferences in order to yield the best ranked results that most closely match their individual search. The engine actually incorporates two technologies – the “Pick & Match”™ relevant products database, as well as a “Match & Link”™ cross-web referral program. “It’s a conceptual and technological breakthrough which aims to bring a refreshing approach to the comparison web portals market,” says Giora.
“We partner with some of Singapore’s leading banks and financial service providers to deliver, through a single web portal, the latest product information in a clear, easy to understand manner that helps consumers make independent, informed choices about their personal finance and get the most out of their money,” says Giora. “In addition to our financial products comparison services, we also maintain a large collection of financial guides, articles and news to help consumers understand the intricacies of banking and insurance, and arm themselves with the knowledge to take better control of their personal finances.”
MoneyLine.sg‘s business essentially revolves around referral fees from partner financial institutions and service providers, as well as advertising – the site hopes to become profitable in 12 months. By the end of the first quarter of next year, MoneyLine.sg would have been invested to a tune of “a few hundred thousand dollars”.
As far as growth is concerned, MoneyLine.sg plans to include insurance, including all personal household financial products, and also expand into Malaysia and Indonesia. “Our goal is to be the number one portal in Southeast Asia,” says Giora.
Entrepreneurship Is About Seeing A Need, And Plugging It
MoneyLine.sg is Giora’s second entrepreneurial venture; his first being totally unrelated to the online space. Giora started GrandSalads – a salad bar – in Singapore’s Suntec City Mall, a busy commercial and retail space near the central business district. GrandSalads offered busy professionals who worked in the surrounding offices options beyond the processed fast-food meals typically wolfed down by them during lunch time. The salad bar essentially offers patrons a choice of different, unique and tasty salads with over 30 ingredients and sauces.
As he put it, he “could not find a decent salad offering anywhere in the vicinity”. It’s really a way how Giora views entrepreneurship; he puts it as “simply spotting gaps in his own personal consumer experience and coming up with smart, feasible ideas to plug those holes”. And so, entrepreneurship is not that difficult a concept to him, he says.