|Type of business||Private|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Key people||Tim Chen (CEO; Co-founder)|
NerdWallet is an American personal finance website that helps people make and manage financial decisions by comparing various products available from various banks and insurance companies. Founded in 2009, the company by 2016 had a valuation of $550 million and projected revenue of about $100 million.
NerdWallet was founded in August 2009 by CEO Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson, with capital of $800 and the aim of producing a website to advise consumers on personal finance. An inspiration for NerdWallet came after Tim was asked by family members about personal finance decisions and found advice online to be unsatisfactory.
Its first product was a web application that gave comparative information about credit cards being offered by banks. The website has sought to distinguish itself from competitors by having a "newsroom" of journalists who write journalistic type articles on personal finance that help the website appear in search engine results, and also listing unsponsored credit card options.
In exchange for new customers, the sponsoring banks paid NerdWallet a success fee. CNNMoney listed NerdWallet on its Top 20 Best Money Sites in 2010 and a 2010 The New York Times article described the website as "worth a look".
In March 2014, former LinkedIn VP Dan Yoo replaced co-founder Gibson, as chief operating officer. Flo Thinh joined as VP of Talent and the company drew 30 million users to its website. By 2015 the company had 200 employees and added Vikram Pandit and James D. Robinson III to its board of advisors. That year it raised $64 million in its first round of funding at an estimated valuation of $500 million and acquired a $36 million revolving loan. By May 2015 the company had developed business relationships with eight banks and a dozen insurance companies. Co-founder Chen reported that the company was profitable by virtue of the fees it earned matching users with financial products and services.
Products and services
The company's goal is to provide information that educates consumers in making financial decisions. Its web site is directed towards millennials and its comparison tools provide information on credit card selection, college loans, banking, mortgage loans, stock trading and insurance policies.
He was born to Taiwanese parents, who were computer scientists that immigrated to the US to study at the University of Oklahoma. He grew up in Atlanta and went to the same high school as childhood friend Jake Gibson, who would go on to co-found NerdWallet. He went to Stanford for undergrad and after worked for Perry Capital, a hedge fund. In New York, Chen lived in the same Murray Hill neighborhood as Gibson, at the time another finance professional. During the 2009 global financial crisis, Chen lost his job during a wave of layoffs on Wall Street.
A feature piece by Inc. magazine on Chen and his management style called the organizational culture he created "transparent, glaringly self-critical, not always comfortable."In the initial days, Chen looked to "hire smart people; let them figure it out". This meant hiring other former Wall Street professionals who resembled the co-founders but Chen found the result to be a company with shaky teamwork. To reset his company, he fired 20% of his workforce at the end of 2013, calling it an "extremely gut-wrenching" decision. Chen then restructured the management organization to move away from silos to a matrix that "requires near-constant communication among NerdWallet's leaders".
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