Mason reached out to me a few weeks ago about a financial app he built called Slope. Immediately, I was impressed with the quality and how easy it was to track your savings. Then I found out he built the entire thing himself, while still in college! I found his story so interesting that I thought it would be a great interview for other entrepreneurs and side-hustlers. If you want to learn more out about Slope check out this blog post.
Give us a little bit of your background.
I’m currently a student at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science. I taught myself how to make iPhone apps when I was in high school, and I’ve been making them for more than five years now. I interned at Apple in California my first two summers of college, and this past summer I decided to spend on my own creating Slope
What’s Slope? How does it compare to other financial apps?
Slope is an iOS app for tracking your money. It helps you visualize what you spend money on so you can stay on top of your finances. The biggest difference between Slope and other financial apps is how easy it is to use. With its user friendly and super clean design, Slope makes the sometimes-scary process of managing your finances into something you’ll actually enjoy doing. You can enter new transactions with just a few taps and see your entire financial history with just a swipe.
How did you come up with the idea for Slope?
Being a college student, naturally money is really tight. My biggest variable expenses are eating out and groceries, and I wanted an easy way to track my spending from month to month. A couple years ago I set out to find an app to help me do this, but I was unsatisfied with all of the (many) options available. I just wanted a simple app where I could quickly enter transactions on the go and see pretty graphs of my spending. The biggest factor was that it had to look and feel good enough to use consistently on a day to day basis. None of the existing apps fulfilled this, so I decided to make my own.
What was the hardest part about building the app while still being a full time student?
It was really hard to jump back and forth between doing schoolwork and working on Slope. I was so excited and enjoyed creating Slope so much that I devoted almost all of my time to it; it was basically a full time job alongside school. I spent many, many Friday nights in the library until 3am coding out ideas I had designed during lectures that week. My grades definitely suffered, but I believed that creating Slope was far and away more valuable than getting an A over a B (even if my parents disagreed).
I really like the ability to be able to import and export transactions. What’s your favorite feature?
Thanks! I like the ability to reconcile transactions from my bank account with ones I’ve entered manually. This is something I haven’t seen before, and I like how it makes me think about what I spent money on (rather than doing everything automatically for me).
I’m really impressed you built Slope yourself. How long did it take you to create the app?
Thanks! It took me two years from initial design sketches to finished product. There were about four different major iterations of the design. It’s pretty fun to look back at my early sketches and prototypes because they look nothing like the Slope of today.
What can we look forward to in Slope version 2.0?
Many people have asked for the ability to set up recurring transactions for things that repeat every month (like Netflix or Spotify). This will be in Slope 2.0, along with some more powerful ways to see your spending by categories and tags. I would also like to add notifications for when you’re approaching your budgets to help you stay on track for the month. I’m also hoping to add support for banks outside of the US, which would help expand the potential audience greatly.
What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever received?
After my first summer at Apple, my recruiter told me not to worry about money. He said to just do what I love and the money will follow. I took this to heart, because this past summer I made a grand total of $0 while I spent all of my time launching Slope. The whole process has been very rewarding, and I’m really excited to see where it goes.
My vision for Slope is for it to become the go-to money tracking app on the App Store. My work is only just beginning, and I’d love any and all feedback about features you’d like to see, things that didn’t work quite right for you, and anything else. Thanks!
Be sure to download Slope and let me know what you think!