Mint.com Got An Offer It Couldn’t Refuse

Mint.com CEO Aaron Patzer confirmed here at TechCrunch50 that his online personal finance company has agreed to be acquired for $170 million by Intuit. He was whisked away from the throngs shortly thereafter, but I managed to sneak a few minutes with Mark Goines, who was one of Mint.com’s earlier investors.

He told me that Mint management had no plans to sell the company when Intuit called and offered to buy it. After all, the company had launched only two years ago and earlier this year had raised $14 million in Series C funding at an increased valuation. Overall, the firm had raised around $31 million from groups like Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures, Sherpalo Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Hite Capital

Goines, who once ran Intuit’s TurboTax and Quicken business units, said Mint.com was the best of several startups he looked at that were offering personalized money management. He said the decision to sell was difficult, but that the chance to get bigger faster was too good to pass up.

Mint.com has online budgeting software that lets people see where their money is going and offers suggestions on how to save more. One attraction to investors, though, was what Goines called Mint.com’s unique business model to generate leads for financial advertisers — a “win-win” for everybody involved.

Both Goines and fellow investor Rob Hayes (First Round Capital) also said Mint.com’s management team was among the best they’ve ever seen because the team had identified a problem they were passionate about solving.

Hayes said CEO Aaron Patzer spent a year researching the company before approaching investors and thoroughly understood the space. Hayes also liked the fact that Patzer wasn’t afraid to say “I don’t know” when he didn’t have an answer. “He would say, ‘there are five ways that this could play out,’” Hayes said.

Intuit, meanwhile, is trying to be the leader in online software — software as a service — for financial services, Goines said, and he thinks CEO Brad Smith, who’s been CEO less than two years, has been “appropriately aggressive” about making acquisitions.

“I bought a lot of companies for Intuit, and I always bought the leaders. Smith is living up to that reputation,” he said.

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