Making Recommendations a Cinch

Congratulations to our friends at Cinch Financial for their recent call out in the New York Times look at how to choose the right smartphone plan by tracking your data use.

Cinch — which analyzes all financial products (from credit cards to mortgages) to provide unbiased, personalized recommendations — was the only company the Times highlighted as a solution to the increasing problem of managing smartphone data costs.

Picking a phone plan with the right number of gigabytes for your usage is a “daunting problem,” the Times writes.

Fortunately, companies like Cinch Financial offer a web tool to make choosing a plan easy. On Cinch’s website, you answer a few quick questions about the type of plan you’re looking for, what type of phone you have (or plan to buy) and which networks are poor in your neighborhood. The tool recommends the best phone plans based on the total cost over two years of service and the number of lines on the plan.

In the real-world test the Times conducted, Cinch saved a consumer roughly $500 over two years.

That’s quite a testimonial.

As was the one that Cinch’s Co-Founder and CEO Sean Collins offered, in the video below, of the company’s partnership with Tamr.

For Cinch, “looking at the entire universe of financial products [is] a huge data problem,” says Collins — with the company “then creating a very detailed matching algorithm so we can get the right product to a very specific personal profile.” Tamr’s unique machine learning, human guided approach, he says,

… allowed us to bypass a painful manual data cleansing process. [With Tamr] I saw a very scalable solution for us which is to ingest that data into the Tamr system and have our own people teach it to match things.

Collins also highlights Tamr’s data normalization system, which enables Cinch, instead of outsourcing overseas, “to … have the business people themselves working in this [normalization] module that allows them in a very natural way them to go in and fix the data.”

As a fiduciary, “we absolutely have to get that right, and data normalization is … the cornerstone of that.

In the end, concludes Collins, “Tamr does give you the leverage to come in and say ‘we can look at this problem in a different way, we can innovate this way and we can apply a software tool to make the business process actually happen.’ Not consulting. But really solving it. And that is very unique.”