One product that slipped under the radar in the past week is Rudder, an e-mail-based personal finance manager that launched at DemoFall and is a replacement for the now-defunct Spendview (coverage). Unlike a destination site like Mint.com, the idea of Rudder is not to have you continually visit a site to track financial activity. Instead, the idea is to have it delivered to your e-mail in-box.
I met with its creators last week to talk about what would make someone want to get all of this piped into a place where they might already be getting information overload. Rudder founder and CEO Nikhil Roy told me it's more of a utility for trying to cut through all the numbers and get to what's most important--like how much money you can actually use once bills have been paid.
Rudder's name for this magic number is "what's left" and it figures out what you've got for discretionary spending based on when you're getting your next paycheck and what's in your various savings and checking accounts, compared to credit card payments and other bills that need paying off. The entire process is shown to users, something Roy hopes will educate as much as it does take the work out of doing the math yourself.
In addition to this core overview of your finances, you can also set-up reminders when it's time to pay bills. The system will automatically figure out what bills you're paying after keeping an eye on your bank account and credit cards for a few months. You can also add them in manually.
Rudder is also building out its own widget platform starting with a "spendmeter" that looks like one of those classic gauges at a nuclear power plant. The more you spend the closer it gets to the red zone, meaning you've got to slow down to avoid financial meltdown. Rudder is opening this up with an application programming interface to let developers create their own widgets that go on the system, later including premium widgets that offer advanced functionality for a small fee. Additional revenue will come with targeted coupons based on places where customers are frequently visiting. Roy told me they're "only going to send you offers if we know it will save you money."
I've embedded Rudder's six-minute pitch from Demo below.