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Innovators’ Spotlight: SPENT Money

Getting to Know SPENT Money

Marketplace Names: SPENT Money, SPENT App

Primary Locations: New York City, Oulu, Finland

Open for Business: 2015

Founder: Erno Tauriainen

Funding: Angel investors

Line of Business: Money Management

Secret Sauce: At SPENT, our focus is on enabling people to be smarter spenders so they can maximize their money. Our first product, SPENT MONEY delivers on this by offering a unique combination of cash back on purchases at thousands of places with tools for automated money management. By pairing expense management with cash back, SPENT allows the users full control of their finances, maximum reimbursements and the ability to earn hundreds of dollars a year on purchased products and services.

Business Philosophy: We take a user-first approach. To be a valued service we must understand our customers and continue to meet their needs but also find ways to surprise them with features they didn’t know they wanted. We strive to find new ways to help our customers make smarter spending decisions so they keep more of their money.

Something You Might Not Expect: SPENT is a team of forward-thinking creatives, spanning 10 time zones, from New York City to our tech base in Oulu, Finland.

Rather than being top of wallet, SPENT Money wants to help consumers manage and earn rewards from what’s already there—at least for now.

Users link their existing prepaid, credit or debit cards via the app to automatically earn up to 25 percent cash back at participating shops and restaurants, as well as online. SPENT doesn’t offer its own card at the moment but might in the future.

The company, which is based in New York with tech headquarters in Oulu, Finland, is targeting two popular demographics for fintech startups, gig economy workers and small businesses.

“It’s no secret that the traditional idea of a 9-5 job is being redefined, largely due to the rise of Gen Z,” says founder and CEO Erno Tauriainen. “As the workplace becomes saturated with employees who have grown up in the digital era, employers need to introduce new products that will help them embrace the values that are important to this generation and also the rise of freelancers in businesses. We want SPENT to be a product that empowers entrepreneurs with tools and information to allow them to make smarter spending decisions and keep more of their hard-earned money.”

In addition to cash back from brands such as Avis and Intuit, the SPENT app offers automated expense management and receipt storage to help users track business deductions or complete expense reports. The service is free, but for $4 a month, users can integrate the app with Intuit Quickbooks and automate reimbursements.

The primary revenue stream is commission on cash back purchases.

“We’re fortunate to have several large partners that provide our users access to cash back at major hotel, car rental, live events and the top online retailers,” Tauriainen adds.

SPENT also partners with thousands of independent businesses so users can earn cash back in their neighborhoods.

International Expansion ahead

The app launched in the U.S. first because of its thriving freelancer industry, according to Tauriainen. He points to a recent study showing that 35 percent of the total U.S. workforce is made up of freelancers, but SPENT is testing in a few markets outside the U.S., as well.

“Today we support thousands of banks in 50 countries,” Tauriainen adds. “We are slowly testing into market expansion. Our rollout strategy is being prioritized based creating a strong portfolio of cash back offers per market.

“We are designed to meet the needs of a new workforce where business and personal life are interconnected,” he continues. “We start with the person so we’re ‘company-agnostic’ and our focus is helping them optimize their money vs. managing expenses—this sets us apart in the marketplace. The ability to earn cash back, whether it’s a business or personal purchase allows our users to get more out of each dollar.”

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