As promised last month, LearnVest, a startup which recently expanded its focus from teaching women to become more financially savvy to teaching entire households to so, is now available on mobile. Today, the company is officially debuting its iOS application in the App Store, which will allow users to sign up, budget, set goals, track their cash flow and more.
It’s good to see that LearnVest’s mobile app has been designed with the idea that this may be some people’s first encounter with the service. There are other apps in the financial space that treat their mobile counterparts as complements to their existing service, offering merely a reflection of data already entered in on the web. But with LearnVest, you can sign up from the app itself, and then use the included search feature to find your bank or banks, and add your accounts. For safety’s sake, users are also prompted to set a PIN code to lock down the app – and the PIN code lock screen even has an easy-access button allowing you to quickly add a cash transaction.
The app’s user interface is straightforward, clean, and very mobile-friendly. Two large buttons appear when you first log in – one which takes you to LearnVest’s “Money Center,” and the other which takes you to LearnVest’s articles, which is its advice and how-to’s resource.
After adding accounts, you can then set up your “Smart Budget.” The service automatically tracks and categorizes your spending, so you have a realistic picture of where your money is going. If you’re really watching the nickels and dimes, that’s where the “add a cash transaction” option comes in. Instead of waiting for bank accounts to sync, you can manually enter an item to keep your cash flow balance on track.
While LearnVest categorizes most transactions for you, the 5%-10% which are left uncategorized can be moved into the appropriate section with a tap. These uncategorized transactions are also cached, so you can organize them when you’re offline, too.
Goal-setting is another app feature which again demonstrates the mobile app’s potential to be used as its own standalone interface for accessing and using this service. Here, the app shows your current progress in dynamic graphs and you can even adjust your goals on the fly.
LearnVest, originally a TechCrunch50 startup, has come a long way since its 2009 debut. Last month, the company reported having “helped” over a million users, but this includes account holders, financial newsletter subscribers, and those attending its online, educational “bootcamp” programs. Following its $19 million Series C from Accel and others last July, the company has now raised $24.5 million in funding.
The service just underwent a major overhaul – its largest ever, bringing a new online dashboard, new paid plans, access to investment advice, and more. To some extent, the company is a competitor with personal financial services like Mint, but LearnVest doesn’t monetize using its customers’ data to recommend products. “It’s all about being unbiased, trusted, just about your money and your best goals and plans of action,” LearnVest CEO Alexa Von Tobel told us in September. But more than that, LearnVest actually pairs its users to work with a financial planner, who are there to help customers reach their goals.