Personalized Savings Advisor BillShrink.com Closes $8 Million in Series B Funding, Led by Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners
Amidst Economic Downturn, BillShrink Empowers Consumers to Make Smart, Money-Saving Decisions
REDWOOD CITY, CA – October 14, 2008 – BillShrink.com, a personalized savings advisor that empowers consumers to make informed, money-saving decisions, today announced that the company has raised $8 million in Series B funding, led by Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. In a turbulent economy, BillShrink is well-positioned to fulfill its role as the consumer’s watchdog by monitoring the market and providing continuously updated, personalized savings recommendations on services like cell phone plans and credit cards.
According to the Federal Reserve, the average American household owes $8,260 in credit card debt. As the effects of Wall Street’s credit crunch ripple through the economy, more of these households will benefit from BillShrink’s service. That’s why BillShrink will use the Series B funds to develop new applications — new ways for consumers to shrink their bills.
On average, BillShrink users discover savings of more than $300 per year on wireless plans, and more than $1,000 per year on credit cards. In response to user feedback, BillShrink today also launched a “My Account” feature, where users can track the progress of these ongoing savings, see a summary of their recommendations across verticals, and view a personalized log of activity and changes in the market that present an opportunity for additional savings.
The funding round was led by Gus Tai, general partner at Trinity Ventures, and joined by David Cowan from Bessemer Venture Partners, who led Series A funding for $1 million. In 1995, Cowan co-founded VeriSign, and has since funded other trusted internet brands like Blue Nile, HotJobs and Postini.
“Trinity Ventures has an exemplary reputation for providing thought leadership in emerging trends and for adding value to help build transformative businesses, so we’re excited to have them as a new partner, along with the continued support from Bessemer,” says BillShrink CEO Peter Pham.
“We sought out the best venture firms to position BillShrink as the go-to site for making smart decisions in tough economic times. With their backing, we can develop more innovative features like the market tracking alerts.”
In conjunction with the Series B round, Tai will be joining BillShrink’s board of directors, along with standing members Cowan, and Matt Coffin, founder of LowerMyBills (sold to Experian in 2005 for $380 million). The addition of Tai is a natural extension, having worked with Pham at Photobucket, where he led the company’s second institutional round, and joined its Board of Directors in 2006. Tai and Pham were part of the team that led Photobucket to an acquisition in 2007 by Fox Interactive Media, a division of News Corporation.
“What attracted us to BillShrink is the team’s exceptional track record at identifying early market opportunities and building solutions that satisfy consumer needs,” said Tai. “Our firm’s goal has always been to work with entrepreneurs who are passionate about transforming an industry. BillShrink’s management team has the leadership and expertise to create innovation solutions that will benefit millions of consumers.”
Co-founders Schwark Satyavolu and Samir Kothari designed BillShrink in 2007 to monitor the market’s millions of continuously changing product combinations, and help translate that overwhelming data into language that is easily understood by consumers, to help them make informed, money-saving decisions. Satyavolu incubated the concept with Cowan while serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Bessemer, based on his own frustrations when switching service providers.
“There really is no other service that goes to the level of detail and personalization that BillShrink does to accurately address the financial needs of its users,” says Cowan. “With today’s economy taking a turn for the worse, it’s especially important for Web technology to help consumers solve real-world problems.”
As the consumer’s personal savings advisor for making financially savvy decisions, BillShrink provides an unprecedented level of transparency and insight into complex everyday services, by revealing the true costs of ownership, and identifying savings opportunities based on individual spend patterns. Beyond that, because terms and rates change frequently, BillShrink tracks promotional deals, expiration dates, and fees for switching service providers. It also constantly monitors consumers’ usage and spending patterns and sends alerts when it finds a better option.
For more information on BillShrink, visit http://www.billshrink.com.
About BillShrink, Inc.
BillShrink is a personalized savings advisor that empowers consumers to make smart, money-saving decisions by providing continuously updated, personalized, usage-based recommendations on everyday services with very complex bills and offerings that change frequently. BillShrink’s patent-pending technology automatically monitors millions of rate plan/feature combinations, and matches them against individual consumers’ usage patterns, providing simple, apples to apples comparisons and updated money-saving recommendations on an ongoing basis as changes occur.
About Trinity Ventures
Trinity Ventures, a 22-year veteran in the venture business with more than $1 billion under management, partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build great companies. Trinity Ventures focuses on early-stage technology investment opportunities with a particular emphasis on the digital media, Internet services, mobility, security and software markets. Trinity has invested in more than 100 ventures, including such leading companies as Aruba Networks, Blue Nile, Crescendo Communications, Extreme Networks, Forte Software, Illustra, LoopNet, Photobucket (acquired by News Corporation), Speedera Networks (acquired by Akamai Technologies), Starbucks and Sygate Technologies (acquired by Symantec).
About Bessemer Venture Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners is a leading venture capital firm since its founding in 1911. The firm specializes in investments in early-stage technology companies, and has operations in 7 offices around the world. David Cowan serves as a Director of BillShrink. David joined BVP in 1992. He has since made 45 early-stage investments for Bessemer, including 19 that have gone public, and 18 that have been acquired by public companies. The first Forbes Midas List ranked David among the world’s top 10 venture investors.