Buxfer is a personal finance & budgeting software that lets you see all your accounts at one place, understand where your money goes, reduce unwanted spending, and save for future goals. It’s cloud-based and works across all your devices seamlessly.
Buxfer is tailored to a specific market segment — one I like to call “power users”. These are people who want to proactively engage with their money, like to plan ahead and be in control of their financial future. They expect their budgeting software to be very powerful, yet flexible enough to give them room to personalize it and customize it for their specific needs.
We are one of the rare Silicon Valley companies that is profitable and growing sustainably. After an initial round of funding from the prestigious YCombinator seed fund, we have adhered to a business model that lets us make money without needing outside investment or resorting to privacy-invasive practices like selling customer data. Our customers or their data are never the product we sell.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I’ve always been a financial “power user” myself, even when I had very little money. While studying computer science at IIT Bombay (India) and later at Carnegie Mellon, I always created small softwares and websites every now and then to solve specific needs. One of them was a simple website that let graduate students (typically roommates) track their shared expenses (like rent, grocery, etc.)
This tool gained a lot of traction on campus, and that’s where the seed of Buxfer was planted. Around the same time, I was heavily influenced by Paul Graham and his way of thinking about the nature of startups, and how they were the best way for young people to have an impact on society. Both of these together put me on the path to pursue building financial software as a business endeavor.
We got into the prestigious YCombinator program, and from then on we’ve never looked back. Over the years, we have grown into a full-fledged personal finance software. One of the core ideas at the heart of Buxfer is its ability to look into the future, not just analyze the past. The idea for this came from a simple spreadsheet template I built myself to track my finances (and later my family’s finances). In essence, most of the ideas that underlie Buxfer have come from my desire to scratch my own financial itch.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
The pandemic has been a mixed blessing for us. The obvious downside is the uncertainty and the cutting down in spending across the board from consumers. However, we were also fortunate to serve a demographic that isn’t that tight on money, and in a way, got even more hands-on with their money due to the pandemic. This effect countered the downsides of the pandemic, and overall, we were largely unaffected, and even slightly benefited from it.
In terms of company and work culture, we’ve always been a fully remote team. Seeing that trend speed up and be adopted by mainstream companies has been an immense source of pride for us. While originally we did it to be scrappy, remote work has always been a boon for us by giving us the ability to tap into talent worldwide. In many ways, we were already prepared for the pandemic, without even knowing it.
We already had the systems in place for being fully remote, just due to the nature of our business. And we were glad that all worked out well when the pandemic came along.
What can we hope to see from Buxfer in the future?
On the product side of things, one of our core focus areas is to improve support for automatic data sync with banks, especially outside the US. We are already a leader in this space and plan to keep improving this support, as this is absolutely the make or break feature for new users as they come onboard our product.
We also plan to continue investing in more innovative ways to give users more power, control and flexibility. One example of that is leveraging more advanced machine learning technologies to improve how our core forecasting algorithm works. We also plan to invest heavily in building out a platform for financial planning & financial advice. The product currently offers a basic retirement planning module, and we are actively looking to improve it in significant ways.
The longer-term vision is to evolve from being a utility for specific financial tasks like setting a budget, or seeing a forecast, to being a more full-fledged financial assistant that can educate, guide and advise users on how to navigate their complex world of finances. Lack of knowledge leads to fear, especially when it comes to money. Human financial advisors have lost their credibility (for very good reasons). There is a need and opportunity to build a product that people trust for their day to day financial needs, learning and advice.