Fundraising is just like expense reports: everyone hates it, but it has to get done. Whether awkwardly pitching friends and family around the dinner table, attempting to wine and dine an angel investor while praying they pick up the tab you can’t afford, or making the pilgrimage to Sand Hill Road to prostrate yourself before the altar — it’s not fun. Nobody got into this business to beg for money, but changing the world is often expensive, and that cash has to come from somewhere. We know, we’ve been there. But we’ve made it through the ring of fire and are now in a position where we’re ready to give back.
We’re not a financial management firm selling a diverse portfolio of long bets to an external group of investors. We’re a fast-growing, profitable company at the forefront of our industry. This means we uncover huge opportunities faster than we can execute upon them with our team alone. So rather than losing focus and stretching ourselves too thin, we’re investing in other teams to pursue exciting opportunities — and helping them succeed beyond just financial support.
Similar to how Expensify doesn’t require a cookie-cutter resume to apply for a job, we won’t waste your time asking for a fancy deck full of buzzwords and hypothetical charts. Instead please read the FAQ below, and then send a simple text email – no pictures – to firstname.lastname@example.org with answers to the following questions:
What is the URL of your website? If you don’t have one, why not?
What do you do (programming, systems engineering, sales, etc.), when did you start, and what have you done between then and now?
What do you want to do with the rest of your life, and how is your startup a step toward your long-term goals?
Who is your customer, and what problem do they face that you intend to solve? (Don’t talk about your solution, just describe the problem itself.)
How would a customer describe your solution? (Don’t talk about the secret internal details; just talk about how it appears to an external customer.)
What is the biggest mistake you feel the competition is making, and that you’re going to use against them?
What have you done so far? Is it just an idea or have you built a prototype? Do you have real users or even paying customers?
How much of this can you do yourself, given enough time, versus how much depends on people you have yet to hire?
Who has already invested, and how much? If nobody, why not?
How much do you truly need to get to the next stage, and how exactly would it be spent? Get detailed here and prove you have a real plan, don’t just throw out a number you think we want to hear.
Just a simple text email to email@example.com will suffice. If you want to attach documents to the email (e.g., if you’ve already made a deck, or have materials you feel are really important to include) feel free to do so. But for optimal results, please focus on dazzling us with your compelling words, not flashy slides.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers:
We’re looking for investments that can partner with Expensify in the short or long term. This means the best fit will be startups focusing on financial technology, mobile OCR, travel services, payments, or really anything relevant to receipt tracking and expense management.
Though we’re “stage agnostic”, we generally write smaller checks appropriate for a seed stage company. We don’t require other investors (i.e. we’re happy to invest alone), though we typically only invest when we’re confident the company has the resources to execute — and that often means investing alongside others.
Of course! In practice, the money we bring to the table is just the cherry on top. Our goal is to build great partnerships in any way possible! Most likely the majority of value we can deliver will be sending you customers, investors, or advice.
We’re not a VC, so that question doesn’t really apply. We didn’t “raise a fund” from a collection of “limited partners” – so we don’t have the “use it or lose it” dilemma of a typical VC. Rather, we invest our profit in opportunities that are the right fit.
To be clear, it’s not an either/or topic. We often invest alongside other VCs. You should consider raising from Expensify Ventures whenever you feel Expensify can help accelerate your business faster than cash alone. You should especially approach us if you feel Expensify is a good match and your business isn’t getting the attention it deserves from other investors. We not only provide the cash to get you through the dark days – we also help legitimize your business and find larger investors to take you to the next level.
Because we’re sure it’s bullshit, and you know it is too. We’re not interested in how well you perform at making gorgeous powerpoints full of imaginary charts that all miraculously go up and to the right. Great ideas don’t need to be exaggerated, they stand out in words alone.