Unubo, a new U.K. startup soft-launched a couple of months ago, is pretty meta: a software-as-a-Service to help you track the cost of SaaS and other subscription-based products or services you are signed up to. The web app let’s you add the services you use in various ways, including by optionally connecting to your bank account transaction data. From then on in it automatically tallies up the relevant costs, presenting the information in an easy to digest way.
The idea, co-founder Leandro Thomas tells me, was born out of his own frustration of having to update the CFO of a startup he was working at on the monthly cost of all of the 50 or so SaaS apps the company was utilising. To get the job done, he would manually enter the data into a spreadsheet after painstakingly logging into each service to see the current monthly cost, which often fluctuated based on usage or number of seats.
This, Thomas quickly realised, wasn’t particularly good use of his time and was a task ripe for automation. It also wasn’t a problem unique to him, either in his day job or likewise when applied to the growing number of consumer subscription services he had signed up to.
“Most companies and individuals have no idea on what they spend on service subscriptions,” he tells me. “In your home life it’s important to know what your monthly outgoings are for better financial planning, and businesses depend on cashflow, so being clear on these kind of subscriptions is important at any given time”.
To that end, Unubo enables you to track what you spend on personal and business subscriptions such as Slack, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more. Different currencies and billing cycles are simplified into a single view, and you can either enter items manually, including name, cost, billing cycle and currency. If you are in the U.S. or U.K., you also have the option of securely connecting to your bank account to automatically discover what services you subscribe to.
“For businesses in particular this is useful, as they often lack that oversight, with different departments having purchasing rights,” explains Thomas. “For services such as G Suite or Slack, you can optionally authenticate with your login details, to connect via API, so you can get up to date user numbers, or anything else that stipulates cost. That way the cost for those particular services updates dynamically”.
To my surprise, the tie-in with bank account transaction data as a really quick and robust way of on-boarding and tracking the cost of each SaaS or subscription service was something early testers of Unubo actually requested. Zooming out further, it is also a great example of the way Open Banking — in which legislation in the U.K./EU is forcing banks to let customers share their data with third-party apps — will create lots of value outside of fintech through features and use-cases that might not yet be immediately obvious.
Meanwhile, Unubo is free for consumers, with pro and paid-for features planned. “We want to get as many people using the app, to help them manage their finances,” says Thomas. “We’re close to releasing a paid plan targeted at businesses. Features will include reports (budgeting/forecasting), multiple users, integrations and more”.