I always knew I wanted to be a technologist, so I went to Duke and got a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. Really, I thought my goal in life was to be an inventor, a problem solver, so I thought I needed a Ph.D. to be good at inventions, but it turns out that you don't.

-Aaron Patzer
Aaron Patzer

At 16, I started a web development business and had clients from the Netherlands, Caribbean, and across the country - none of whom knew my age because I could conduct all my business with a phone, scanner, and the Internet.

Aaron Patzer
If you think about photo sharing sites, the mobile photo sharing and social, there's no competitive advantage, there's no obvious business model, so I never play with anything like that. I avoid it like the plague.
Aaron Patzer

Because Mint has access to all of your bank accounts and credit cards, we can detect fraud or unusual spending patterns faster than your bank, then send an email or text message alert to users.

Aaron Patzer
I consider myself an inventor first and an entrepreneur second. In real life, my hero is Thomas Edison. He was a great inventor, but also an outstanding entrepreneur who was able to sell his inventions to the masses. He didn't just develop the light bulb; he invented the entire electric grid and power distribution system.
Aaron Patzer

At Mint, we developed five pending patents on our technology, ranging from categorization to the Ways to Save system that calculates how much a new financial product would save a user given their present financial situation.

Aaron Patzer
I know it sounds weird, but the food that I eat, it doesn't make a big difference, and it never has. So, I've saved a ton of money not buying a lot of alcohol, not going out to restaurants too much. So, I think it's part of our culture, and it's part of a social activity more than anything else.
Aaron Patzer

I was 25 when I started Mint.com. I was looking to disrupt the banking industry and encourage people to trust their financial information with a startup they'd never heard of. I was a CEO no one had ever heard of, looking to hire the best people in engineering, marketing, business development, etc. I knew I needed to surround myself by the best. Aaron Patze

Aaron Patzer
Carefully calculate the potential size of your market to make sure you can grow. Before starting Mint, I knew that there were about 20 million people who had purchased 'Quicken' or 'Microsoft Money' over the years, and 80 million people using online banking in the U.S. alone.
Aaron Patzer

When valuing a startup, add $500k for every engineer, and subtract $250k for every MBA.

Aaron Patzer
The other big factor in building trust quickly is site design quality. Mint.com has one of the best graphic designers ever (Jason Putorti) - he cares about every pixel, all the fonts, all the transparencies and effects. And that shows instantly. People do make judgments of trust on appearance - in the real world and online.