The making of: Expense Reports That Don't Suck!
Expensify was founded with a simple, but clear purpose: to make expense reports not suck.
Reporting expenses has never been an easy or intuitive process. Like many others, David Barrett felt firsthand the pain of doing expense reports on antiquated, less-than-intuitive platforms. As a result, he and a buddy started working on a product to alleviate that painful process. That product became Expensify.
Expensify started with a receipt-scanning vision and in 2009 we raised $1M to make our vision a reality. People loved the idea, as did the tech community and major publications. Less than a year later, we raised another $5.7M to build SmartScan, a product that would forever change the expense reporting marketplace.
Before the launch of SmartScan, Expensify simply made expense management easier, but hadn’t changed the process. With SmartScan, Expensify users could become completely paperless by taking a photo of the receipt. No more attaching paper receipts and printing expense reports. Competitors and banks who clung to the traditional processes were eventually forced to license our service or build an imitation; it wasn’t until 2014 that our largest competitor managed to muster a similar service.
As we rolled out SmartScan in 2010, two amazing things happened: first, the iPhone got upgraded with an autofocus camera and second, Apple began pushing the new App Store. One thing led to another and employees started installing and using our app without their employer’s permission. This bottom-up approach became our business model, which is still driving our growth today. By the end of 2010, we raised another $5.7M to further expand our product and team.
As our clients continued to grow (and grow into more stringent accounting processes), Expensify continued to add more and more time saving features to increase the amount of automation in the expense reporting process. Internally, our SF team doubled year by year and we expanded into Michigan, Dallas, London, Paris, and Brazil. In 2013, we made the conscious decision to pass on raising a large round of venture capital and instead focused on making our company profitable. People continued to love our product, and in 2014, we raised a strategic round of $3.5M to build out our networks.
Fast forward to the present: there are now over 2.5 million users and more than 300,000 companies that use Expensify. We reimburse millions of dollars every day, process billions every year, and we’re still pushing out new features making life easier for our users in over 169 different countries.