Jen Leger: 'We’ve taken the old model of the saving jars ... and we've digitized it.'

Jen Leger: 'We’ve taken the old model of the saving jars ... and we've digitized it.'

Quber is a FinTech app that brings fun to an all-too-often overlooked aspect of personal finance – saving money.

When people think of personal finance, they envisage hot stocks, tech plays, hedging or getting the best interest rate. But Moncton-based Quber has made a game out of the essential – if less glamorous – task of restraining your spending.

Founded by Jen Leger and Venky Kulkarni, Quber is a mobile app that lets people set goals for their savings, and channel the saved-money toward something important. As well as a data-based analysis of individual spending habits, the app features a picture of a savings jar, and the more money you save by cutting out little purchases, the more that jar fills up with coins. The goal is to save enough that you can move the full jar toward something bigger, like a vacation, a car, or long-term savings.

“Quber helps people be more mindful about their spending and helps them saving for things that they want,” said Leger in an interview last week. “We’ve taken the old model of the saving jars people used to put change in to save for something they want, and we’ve digitized it.”

The app can analyze a person’s or family’s spending and identify ways to cut back on things like eating out less or buying less extravagant clothes. Leger said she’s become intrigued by the psychology of saving, and believes that people are rewarded by seeing coins go into that digital jar and getting one step closer to their saving goals.

“I have my Fitbit and for some reason it motivates me to get out and run,” she said. “I don’t know why. But you set yourself a personal challenge and we’ll let you know that you’re on track. It just keeps you on track.”

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Leger and Kulkarni are already make headway with the roll out of the app. On Thursday night, they will be one of five provincial finalists competing for top spot in the $1 million Breakthru competition, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s biennial event that seeks the top new startups in the province.

As they’ve gone through the competition, the co-founders have produced a product for an iOS platform, which is now in a closed test with friends and family. They are planning a full beta test in about four to six weeks, and are hoping to have an Android-based app ready in June.

Quber has already linked up with “a regional financial institution” and are working on a full release of the product this year with about 8,000 to 10,000 users.

It’s not only regional institutions that are interested in Quber. Leger recently joined a mission to India, and she’s now talking to Indian institutions about using the product. She and Kulkarni have had talks with some of the big Canadian banks, as well as institutions in Singapore and Sweden.

Leger and Kulkarni are hoping to win one of the three Breakthru prizes, which range in value from $176,250 to $374,250. They’d use the money to bring on a full-time developer. But with the feedback they’re receiving, they plan to push on regardless of the outcome of Breakthru.  

One reason that financial institutions are eager to work with Quber is that it is a FinTech outfit that wants to work with big institutions rather than disrupt their business.  With a collaborative approach, these institutions see Quber as something fun and quirky that can help their clients save money.

“The financial institutions are starting to see the startups can come in and get things done a bit faster than they can,” said Leger. “So every financial institution that we’ve talked to knows that they need to improve on their technology and we hope to work with them.”

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