Sometimes the most obvious ideas are just there for the taking, and you wonder if nobody else is doing it, then why not me? This was exactly the thinking of friends Dmytri Baglai and Yuriy Blinov, who needed a simple financial tracking app but couldn’t find one that they liked, so they went ahead created their own. 

Tell us a bit more about your app Monefy

Monefy is a mobile Android application for easy and efficient tracking of personal expenses. There are two app versions available on Google Play – a free Monefy version where some features are locked – to unlock them a customer has a choice of either agreeing to see ads (not shown by default) or they can buy the full Monefy Pro version for US$2.50. At the moment the paid version has more than 20 000 purchases and the free version is on about 600 000 downloads.

Where are you guys based?

We are based online as our two founders work in two different countries – being the Ukraine and Norway.

Who would you say your target audience is? Did you see a particular gap in the market that you are trying to fill?

The target audience is anyone who wants to keep track of their spending. The problem here is it requires some time and effort to write down everything you spend. We believe we solved this by providing an extremely easy and convenient way of doing it – adding a new expense entry literally takes 2 seconds.

startup_Monefy pro homepage

What makes your business unique compared to your competitors?

The uniqueness of Monefy is a simple and well structured user interface. There are a lot of competitors, but they are much more complex. If this kind of application is not intuitive or if it takes a lot of time and typing to add new expense – people just give up. Monefy requires only a couple of seconds every day for managing expenses and income.

And how long have you been working on this project?

About two and a half years now. It took about one year to release the first version of Monefy, after which we have been constantly working on improving the product. We have not planned it, but the first release date coincided with (my business partner) Yuriy’s birthday, which makes it pretty easy for us to remember! At least definitely for Yuriy J

How did the idea for this business come about?

About three years ago I realised that I don’t know how much money I was spending and on what. At that time I had an Android phone and search for a good app for managing personal finances in Google Play, but I couldn’t find one that suited me. All the apps I tried (and it was quite a lot of them) had too many features that I didn’t need, and it was taking ages for me to understand how they are supposed to work and when I finally understood an app it was just inconvenient for me or it required too much effort to use.

One evening on the way to a Christmas party I shared this experience with my friend and colleague. And it turned out that he had the same problem. Then we thought – why don’t we create the app that will suite our needs! So we did!

And your personal background? How did you come from studying or working for someone else to running your own business?

I’ve got my Master’s degree in IASA (Institute of Applied Systems Analysis) the faculty of NTUU “KPI” in Kiev, Ukraine. I previously worked for a software outsourcing company and did some Android and iOS development. That experience helped me to start developing Monefy. Last year I moved to Norway and currently work for Microsoft.

What about your childhood and family background? Any entrepreneurial inspirations there?

I was born into a family of engineers. My father always said that it is cool to have your own projects. Maybe it was the initial motivation.

Can you think of any one moment that sparked you to start your own venture?

Yes – it was that discussion with my future business partner on the way to Christmas party!

Talking about your business partner – can you tell us a bit more about him or her?

My business partner is Yuriy Blinov. He has Master’s degree in Computer Science. We spent our childhood and school years in the same region of the Ukraine but didn’t know each other. Then we independently moved to Kiev and ended up being teammates in a software outsourcing company.

startup_monefy_Yuriy Blinov

Tell us about the most exciting or inspirational moment to date – either in running your business or even life in general?

The last such moment was reaching 500 000 downloads! We are looking forward for getting more inspiration from a million and more downloads! J

And the toughest moment?

I would say it was the initial release. It always seemed that there was a room for the necessary improvements before we can go live and we postponed the release for several weeks. But then we managed to say ‘no’ to ourselves, created the ‘release candidate’ version, released it and continued doing the improvements afterwards.

Was there ever a strange moment in your life where you felt you were just destined to do this?

Not really. It was more a matter of feeling like there was a need for this app and my partner and I thinking “if not us then who” so went ahead with the idea.

Where would you like your business to be in the next couple of years?

We have plans to extend Monefy to iOS and Windows Phone markets.

What would be your one line suggestion for someone just starting their own thing?

The easiest way to do something is to just do it. Do not be afraid of trying.