How the Intuit Acquisition Has Changed Mint

by Jason Unger

When Mint.com was acquired by Intuit in September, a number of users and bloggers were worried about how the site would change.

Would it become difficult to use? Would the corporate mindset affect Mint’s innovations?

Not so, says Aaron Patzer, former Mint CEO and now Intuit’s vice president and general manager of the personal finance group, in an interview with the New York Times.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Q. Mint obviously has proven it?s good at innovating. How confident are you that Intuit?s corporate culture will let you continue that?

A. All of the Mint leadership is taking a leadership position in engineering, products, marketing, business development and sales over at Intuit. One hundred percent of the Mint employees accepted offers at Intuit. The Mint team is really running the show, at least for the online version. There?s no reason why we shouldn?t be able to continue that innovation.

Q. Why did the deal make sense?

A. The deal makes sense for Mint because while we?re growing very rapidly and have 1.7 million users, Intuit has 43 million users. All of a sudden you have accelerated your potential user base years into the future. From Intuit?s perspective, Mint knows how to acquire customers with no cost. We do it all with search-engine optimization, press and just word of mouth. We don?t pay for traditional advertising, and that?s something they wanted to learn from. We have a free product that we monetize very well by making personalized offers.

Of course, the deal worked out pretty well for Patzer, as well, who sold the site for $170 million two years after it launched. Since the acquisition, he says he hasn’t touched any of the income from the deal — but has started shopping at Whole Foods instead of Safeway and is taking a couple of nice trips this winter.

But, according to the interview, he’s not slacking off — since he knows there’s someone working on a product to top Mint right now.

“I have to stay one step ahead of him or her every day. In a technology company, if you let up just a couple of years in your innovation, that?s all the gap a competitor needs. That?s what happened with Intuit. They ignored and neglected Quicken from about 2002 to 2008, and that was enough of a gap to give rise to Mint. If I back off even for a second, someone is going to come along with something better.”

Read the full interview: A 20-Something Makes a Mint (and Sells It to Intuit)

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