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Expensify: Rectifying Expense-Report Suckage

November 1, 2011

One consistent complaint from executives, upper-level management teams and others who routinely travel for business, is the difficulty and annoyance that accompanies keeping track of receipts and documenting the money trail. There have been a number of approaches to this issue in the past, including organizational training and the issuing of company credit cards for specific purposes. All of these implementations have their flaws – people often can forget to be organized, and it’s costly and risky to issue dozens of company credit cards.

In order to address these issues, Witold Stankiewicz founded Expensify, an expense-tracking and report-generating system in May of 2008 and was later joined by David Barrett in August. Creating expense reports that “don’t suck,” Expensify automatically imports expenses from linked credit card or bank accounts, as well as being able to take photos of and automatically scan receipts. Furthermore, Expensify can automatically reimburse users up to $10,000, all on the web.

In May of 2009, Expensify raised $1 million through Hillsven Capital, Baseline Ventures and Red Swoosh founder Travis Kalanick. Part of Expensify’s unique process is to send its employees on “working vacations” to Thailand, Mexico, India and Turkey. In September of 2009, Expensify received $5.7M in Series B funding. Expensify now supports 159 international currencies, and four different smartphone ecosystems, including iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre.

Expensify has taken pains to ensure that its application, initially seen as rough, has gotten considerable sprucing up – they’vehired several designers to ensure consistency and quality in presentation. Expensify even received a relatively high-profile review in May of 2011 from Slate Magazine. Because Expensify also integrates with Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Salesforce and other accounting systems, it makes it far simpler for business bookkeepers to approve of expense reports quickly.

Founder Witold Stankiewicz is a former software engineer at Red Swoosh, a peer-to-peer networking client, and Akamai Technologies, a Massachusetts-based web services provider. Co-founder David Barrett was also a former Akamai software engineer and also owns iGlance.com, a web communications company. Expensify is based in San Francisco’s Financial District.

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