“You can think of us as Google, Quora, and Yelp melded into one cohesive idea around money,” New Jersey startup Phroogal founder Jason Vitug says.
“Interesting,” we thought, so we wanted to find out more.
Most people want to know about money, where to invest it, how to invest it, what terms mean, who can you trust, who can’t you trust. All these are questions that many of us turn to Google for. However the results can be overbearing; millions of patches on investing show up no matter how you refine the search. If information on money and finances were indexed, aggregated, and peer reviewed, it would be a whole lot easier to take control of your money. That’s why Vitug built Phroogal.
Google provides great information on so many things, but mixed into those search engine results are advertisements and paid listings. With Google, the person or company with the best SEO wins. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the best financial information for you or your best interest at heart. When you’re looking to make decisions about your money and your finances, this is problematic at best.
Phroogal solves this problem by leveraging social networks to form a community and adding peer reviews and suggestions. If hundreds or thousands of real people are suggesting one financial service over another, there should be merit to that, right?
That’s what Phroogal is hoping.
Phroogal is going to connect common folks that want to know about money, with recommended industry experts that know about all things money. They’ll also have technology in the background that will help users find information they need based on the user’s lifestyle, milestones and goals.
The startup, which hasn’t even launched yet, already has over 3,000 people signed up and waiting for the platform to open its doors. While we are waiting, we got some time to talk with Vitug. Check out our interview below.
What is your startup called?
What does your company do?
Phroogal is crowd-sourced financial information enabling social collaboration to share knowledge, discover new tools and connect with money savvy peers and financial experts.We are building the central repository for all things money. You can think of us as Google, Quora and Yelp melded into one cohesive idea around money.
Why is Phroogal special?
There are so much information and tools out there that can help people get a better handle on money but there is one resource that allows people to discover them. It’s a simple idea that can have profound impact on helping people manage money.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds
Jason Vitug, founder and CEO, worked in the financial services industry for 10 years most recently as VP of Business Development for a credit union based in Silicon Valley. Holds a BS in Finance and an MBA. Retired from “corporate America” to backpack around the world in 2012. I had an “aha” moment on what I wanted to do when I came back after backpacking through 20 countries in 12 months. I came back in 2013 to build Phroogal.
There is so much talk about failed startups because of a single founder. The challenges are stacked against me but my passion and work ethic has led to many small successes.
Where are you based?
Currently based in New Jersey. I lived in Palo Alto but moved to NJ to focus all my resources on Phroogal. I’ve been couchsurfing building Phroogal moving from one couch to another.
What problem do you solve?
We all thrive to learn more about money but money is a taboo subject we do not openly talk about. I’ve found that 7/10 people use search engines to find answers to their financial questions. It results in sifting through countless links, advertisements and confusing forums and vague blog posts.
Our platform will allow people to ask questions and get answers, search for topics, discover resources and connect with savvy peers.
Advances in technology around money are outpacing adoption by those who can benefit from them. It’s the perfect time to introduce Phroogal to the masses as the place for all things money. Recently, I was discussing the benefits of budgeting and using Mint.com as an introductory tool to segue into other tools that are much more robust. The majority of people never heard of Mint.com.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
We launched in March 2013 with a landing page and received over 3000+ signups. Our blog postings have been featured in a few trade publications. We’ve been successful in obtaining an Alexa rank of 600k worldwide and 58k in the US in 4 months.
What are your next milestones?
Launch of our MVP in September. Achieve 5k signups before launch.
Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?
People can visit www.Phroogal.com