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On the radar: Blueleaf, a secure online space for discussing investment goals

Posted by Scott Kirsner  March 18, 2010 11:31 AM

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The new money management site that I've been hearing about this month is Cambridge-based Blueleaf, founded by John Prendergast and Chris Thorpe. It aims to help you centralize all your investment accounts in one secure place online, and make it easy to discuss with a spouse, friend, or financial adviser whether you're on the right track to saving for retirement or building a college fund. You can grant access to your info to people you trust; have online discussions about whether it's time to sell a certain stock or mutual fund; and even hold on to historical info if you decide to move an account to a different bank or brokerage.

The company has mainly been boot-strapped by its founders so far, with a bit of outside capital, but Prendergast tells me they will have more to disclose about other investors soon.

I asked Prendergast about the initial inspiration. He wrote in an e-mail:

What we're trying to do with Blueleaf is connect people, their families and their financial advisors (if they have them) to ALL their investment and savings accounts and to one another. Its about simplifying the investing process and enabling those "kitchen table" conversations we all have huddled around stacks of paper. Families need to manage retirement, college savings and other investments and most of us collaborate to do it; wife to husband, son to mother (I manage my mom's money), advisor to client, etc. But until now there has been no way for everyone in that conversation to see the same information in one place and work together online.

Prendergast is a former techie at Jeffries & Company, the investment bank, who now serves on the board of Oneforty, the Twitter app store; Thorpe, Blueleaf's chief technology officer, worked at Tellme Networks and earlier in his career at Viaweb (an early e-commerce service acquired by Yahoo.) Working alongside them is Chris Paul, formerly the VP of engineering at Visible Measures, the video analytics firm in Boston.

The first line of code for Blueleaf was written last December, Prendergast tells me, and the Web site went live in January. The company is now running an invitation-only beta that will last for a few months, he says. Prendergast expects that some of the site's features will always be free, but there may also be a subscription-based premium version.

Blueleaf is definitely a start-up in the same vein as, the personal finance site acquired by Intuit last fall for $170 million. 


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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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