Written by Purna Pareek, Finovera CEO
It was a beautiful Saturday morning in the bay area – perfect for a hiking trip in the woods. But I had a more mundane activity in mind. I was determined to organize my household documents and set up a system so I could quickly find what I needed and spend less time dealing with paperwork.
As someone living in Silicon Valley, the first thought that came to my mind was to turn all this paper into digital files and store it on my laptop. I could buy a good scanner and a couple of terabytes of hard disk for few hundred dollars and have Windows Explorer organize it in folders and files. However, the whole idea of scanning thousands of documents and organizing them in the Windows file system was daunting and time-consuming. It wasn’t really practical either. I knew that after a while it will become a chore and I would give it up.
Then the obvious came to me. Most of the documents I get are electronically printed and invariably available on each provider’s website. So, why not just login to the provider website and download each of them one at a time and organize it on the PC? The ones that are not available online could still be scanned and kept on the PC, right?
That was a good idea, but still required too much effort. I would no doubt forget to download some important statement and never realize it until it was too late.
Then the light bulb came on! Why not find a software application that could download all of these PDF files for me automatically and organize them so I don’t need to do ANYTHING!
I thought surely, someone must have developed such an application. It’s a common problem and I couldn’t be the only one who feels this pain. So I spent few days on Google searching for a solution but to my surprise, I found nothing. Instead, I found expensive document management tools for small businesses ─nothing for a consumer that would solve my problem.
Just like a typical household, I get many utility bills from AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Waste Management and PG&E. We also receive financial statements from banks, credit unions, brokerages, and insurance companies for credit cards, mortgage, student loans, and home and auto policies. Then, there are occasional bills for medical, dental, real estate taxes or home owners association. At the end of the day, I have a cluttered desk with dozens of folders and a stack of bills to review, pay or file.
I called my friends and asked them how they deal with this problem. Some were using Quicken or Online bill pay but there was no comprehensive solution to solve the household bill and document management problem in a holistic manner.
And the idea of Finovera was born, and I finally did take that hike!
In the next few months, I spoke to dozens of Millennials, families and retirees, and researched the problem a bit more. I knew a true solution would come from a consumer perspective and should not change the workflow of how people deal with bills today. So, I formed a small team of designers and technologists with financial services backgrounds, many of whom I’d worked with in the past. Leveraging the advances in technology, we decided to make the process completely digital, automated and painless. But just replacing the current bills and document management process was not enough. We had to add significant value in order for consumers to switch to a new method.
We came up with an ambitious plan to build a product that would automatically download one year of bills, statements and documents from any website, organize them in a digital vault so it is easily accessible from anywhere, anytime, on any device. We would then extract the data from the PDF statements, create historical trends and charts, and generate useful alerts to save our users money – all of this with very little effort and in less than 10 minutes!
Needless to say, that it was a tall order. The journey was full of surprises, detours and setbacks. We took the unconventional less traveled, but more adventurous, route to get here. On the way, we met hundreds of helpful beta users who gave us great feedback and spent their valuable time working with us.
Now, I am happy to say that we have accomplished what we set out to do almost two years ago. The idea of Finovera has become a reality and we are ready to launch publicly, so that every consumer can simplify his life.
Posted by Purna Pareek, Founder & CEO
Written by Purna Pareek, Finovera CEO