MONCTON – When Jen Leger first graduated university years back, she admits saving money wasn’t her strong suit.
“I went through my challenges when I graduated university. I never really knew how to manage my money well. I always made a decent amount but made bad decisions with it,” she says.
“I tried the typical budgeting tools that show you where you spent money, but it never really did anything to motivate me to change.”
Turns out this was a global challenge that not only for young people but people of all ages. Solving this challenge is what led Leger and Venky Kulkarni to found Quber.
Quber, which officially launched for Apple and Android in March, helps users save by helping them focus on their short-term goals. It takes the old-fashioned concept of a piggy bank and saving jar, and brings it into the digital age.
“It’s really to focus on the thing that you really want. It could be travel, it could be saving up for hockey registration, a certain pair of shoes that you want, whatever it is,” says Leger. “The focus is really on those things that you want and that’s the first you do [on the app], you create what’s called a “saving jar” which is based off the old concept when people would take their change and put it into a piggie bank or a jar.
Once users download the app and link their bank accounts, they can create as many saving jars as they want. With each jar, the user can set different “rules.” Rules can be simple as every time you make a purchase, it’s rounded up to the nearest dollar, that extra change is then moved into your jar. Other rules can be made, such as whenever you get a paycheque, a certain percentage will be taken out. The app offers different suggestions for rules and users are also able to create their own.
“It all happens automatically. You decide to how you want to do it, then Quber takes over and makes sure that the money moves depending what rule you set,” says Leger.
Quber uses gamification to help its users save money. For example, you can take part in its 52-week saving challenge. Quber will also suggest other challenges that will motivate you to save money.
“Let’s say you’re spending $80 a month on fast food, we challenge you to spend less. We’ll let you know how you’re doing throughout the month, but if you end up coming in under what you’d normally spend, we take that money and move it into a jar,” explains Leger.
“It’s a bit of a motivation to actually help people change their spending habits. A lot of people have money, it’s just they are making the wrong decisions with it.”
Leger says this is what makes Quber different from other budgeting applications out there.
“We’re making it positive. We’re making it, ‘here is what I’m saving for. Here is what I want’ and making people think about it.” she says.
Since launching in March, Leger says the app currently has around 3,000 users, most of which are in Atlantic Canada. She says the company didn’t do a nationwide push right away because they wanted the room to work out any bugs that could arise. With things running smoothly, Quber is getting ready for a Canada-wide marketing campaign with help from a firm in Toronto.
“Now it’s word-of-mouth organic reach for how we’re getting people, which is great. But now we’re to the point where we need to start doing more marketing so that people in Ontario know about us, people in British Columbia know about us,” says Leger.
“The next journey for us is to do more marketing now that we know the product’s stable. We have quite a few people who are using it successfully.”
Quber is currently doing another funding round. Looking ahead, Leger says the company is looking to outsource the platform to financial institutions both inside and outside of Canada.
“We’ve done a pilot project with some credit unions, and what we want to do is move that to the next level. Our revenue model is to sell licenses of the software so banks can take Quber and bring into their mobile app and offer it to their banking customers,” she says. “That’s really one of the next things that we want to do is work with one of these banks that we’re talking to and go to that next level with them.