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The Friday Five: Innovative Financial Services Start-Ups

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 21, 2010 12:19 PM

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On Fridays, I regularly post a list of five things worth knowing about, and invite you to add others in the comments.

This week, it's New England start-ups working on new ideas in the financial services space.

- Cambridge-based Blueleaf wants to encourage you to collect all your banking and investment info in one place, and then collaborate with friends, family, or financial advisors to improve your returns.

- Currensee. A social network built especially for foreign exchange traders. It allows participants to discuss strategies and compare performance. Boston-based Currensee has raised $12 million in venture capital so far, from firms like North Bridge and Egan Managed Capital.

- Taking a page from the ING Direct playbook, PerkStreet is a bank without branches or toaster giveaways. Targets consumers who are happy to bank online, ask questions via e-mail, or call up a live person by phone. By keeping costs low, Boston-based PerkStreet can offer rewards for using your debit card that include free Dunkin' coffee, iTunes downloads, or Amazon.com credit.

- Swipely encourages users to share information with friends (or the Web at large) about purchases they've made, and to rate or comment on the things they've bought. Launched a beta last month, and announced $7.5 million in funding. Based in Providence, RI.

- Trefis is building a community of amateur equities analysts, who use the site to share their scenarios for how a particular stock will perform. Nifty visual tools for estimating how good or bad performance in a given line of business will affect the share price.

(One more company worth a mention is WePay, which offers a solution for group payment situations — like renting a Cape house for the summer with a bunch of friends. Founded here by two Boston College alums, it's now based in Palo Alto, unfortunately.)

Who would you add to the list? Post a comment...

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com 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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