Bundle.com launched this week a free data visualization site for personal spending. The company, founded last June with Series A funding from strategic investors Citigroup (s C), Microsoft (s MSFT) and Morningstar (s MORN), helps users understand how they match up to others in their demographics and locations with regards to monthly household expenditures. So for instance, you could see how your budget ranks vs. other people in your neighborhood of your age and income level. Or if you were thinking about moving to a new neighborhood, you could get a sense of whether you’d be able to afford living there.
New York City-based Bundle’s data currently comes from Citi and the U.S. government, and covers categories like shopping, food and health. Within each category, you can see how much people who live near you spend, what merchants they commonly patronize, and how that compares to the rest of the U.S. (No surprise, the largest U.S. grocery shopping destination within the system is Wal-Mart (s WMT), followed by Wal-Mart Supercenters. In my San Francisco zip code, it’s Safeway (s SWY) followed by Trader Joe’s.)
A core challenge for the site is balancing anonymity vs. detail, said CEO Jaidev Shergill, who incubated Bundle while still in his former role at Citi’s Growth Ventures Unit. That goes for users; while Citi’s spending data clearly needs to be anonymized, if it’s made too vague it’s not useful; and for advertisers, who are very interested in detailed targeting.
Though early reports had said Bundle wanted to compete directly with Mint (which was sold to Intuit (s INTU) in September for $170 million), at the moment Bundle doesn’t have personal finance management tools. However Shergill said that early users (the site opened Wednesday) are asking to get more hands-on with their own accounts, so it’s likely that Bundle will try to integrate with Mint or build its own version.
Bundle has put effort into content creation, with an editorial team writing articles and quizzes and picking out interesting data points (like “Young, wealthy, and still shopping at Target” or “What’s your spending type?“) and a community message board. But for now, its main asset is the pretty bubble graphs and charts. Coming soon, said Shergill, will be local data sets for rents and mortgages as well as saving.