Archives For November 30, 1999

Great news! Thanks to all your wonderful help and feedback, we’ve opened our doors wide to all comers! Your ideas, suggestions, encouragement, and hard-hitting feedback were brilliant, and on behalf of the entire Expensify team, thank you. We literally couldn’t have done it without you.

Sign up now!
(Did I mention it’s free?)

What Does “Open Beta” Mean?

It basically just means we’ve taken a major step forward in quality, and are now letting new users sign up at will (rather than by invite only).   Additionally, it means a ton of really awesome coverage:

  • TechCrunch says we’re “bigger and better” than ever before!
  • Web Worker Daily (a division of GigaOm) says it “does seem to do what it promises… very well.”
  • And of course our very own blog has some nice things to say…

Please go read those articles and post great comments, we’re eager to hear them.  Also, if you’re a Twitterer, it’d be a huge favor if you could re-tweet our message to the world!  (And don’t forget to follow @expensify.)

In Other News:

Expensify never sleeps, and since our last update we’ve added several powerful new features:

  • Did you know that we can now import over 94% of US credit cards?  That’s a lot of percents!
  • We’ve also added a really cool analysis page to the card page to give a quick graphical overview:  just click Analyze in the upper right when viewing your expenses to see them broken down by date and expense category, as well as to see a summary of top merchants per category.
  • We created a quick video overview showing how to file an expense report, end to end, in under three minutes.  Check it out here.

Anyway, the Expensify bus just keeps on truckin’, and we’re always making things a little bit better.  So why not submit that expense report you’ve been putting off?  You could be minutes away from emptying your pockets of receipts and filling them with money!

Expensify isn’t so much a labor of love as it is a retaliation against paper expense reports.

Don’t get me wrong: making business purchases doesn’t phase me. I’m fine buying tickets, renting cars, booking hotels, and generally getting things done on my own credit card. But the process of getting paid back is just so excruciating.

Expense Reporting: The Worst of the Worst

I’m not sure which is the worst: keeping track of the receipts, typing it all in, waiting to receive the check, or actually depositing it once I get it. The whole experience is so bad it blurs together into a general morass of pain. It’s so bad I find myself just paying for things out of pocket because that’s preferable to the torturous process of getting reimbursed.

This has been the case for years, and as I clawed my way up the startup circuit, I always rather assumed the big companies had some magical solution that made it all easy. Well, they don’t. It’s horrible from top to bottom, and what few corporate card solutions exist are targeted squarely at the big guys. I’ve got news for you: there are 25 million businesses in the US today, and 24 million of those have under 20 employees. That means 97% of the market is has been neatly overlooked, leaving the rest of us in expense report hell.

Changing the Game

Well, I’m proud to say that all that ends now. Expensify is the corporate card for everyone else, the expense report service that not only pays you back faster, but pays you back *more* — and does so without the grueling pain we’ve all come to associate with the words “expense report”.

In case you don’t already know, Expensify uses electronic payment cards to enable one-click expense reports. Every purchase you make with the card we give you is billed back to your regular credit card — there’s no new monthly bill, and you keep all your frequent flier miles. Come back to the site at any time to print out full expense reports (including receipts: just scan them in with our iPhone app or email them to using any cameraphone), or type in your manager’s email address and we’ll mail them a PDF and bill them for the amount of the expense report, crediting it back to your credit card. No checks to cash, no days to wait, we’ll just instantly pay off your credit card when your boss approves the report.

Our Launch Paves Way for an Exciting Future!

Anyway, you might have heard we launched last week at the TechCrunch 50 and WOW, what a response! We were cautiously optimistic that people would like it — we were unprepared for how much people would absolutely *love* it. We pitched it over 150 times, and everyone was ecstatic. One guy even gave me a hug as thanks for how much time we were going to save him. I think he had a tear in his eye.

All this enthusiasm has really highlighted to us just how big a problem we’re solving and how important it is that our launch go smooth. So as much as it pains me, we’ve decided to slow things down a bit and put some extra testing and polish into the site, and to send out our cards in smaller batches than initially anticipated. We’ll still send them out on a first-come first-serve basis, and once we’re through the backlog our plan is still to get cards to your door within a week. But we’re going to take our time with these first batches to ensure the highest quality experience possible.

For Our Early Adaptors…

That said, we want to thank you, the TechCrunch crew, and most importantly all the many, many people who spoke with us at the TechCrunch 50 and gave us such kind words of support and encouragement — not to mention voted us 2nd place winner of the Demo Pit over a hundred other companies. And what better way to give thanks than with cold hard cash!

That’s right, from this moment on, the next 1000 users who sign up will get $1000 in free purchases. That’s a cool million dollars of Expensify service we’re giving away for free to you, the early adopters, the TechCrunch readers, and the fledgling group of Expensify fans who make it all possible. So sign up today and get in line for your Expensify card and $1000 of zero-surcharge purchases. Your card will be in your mailbox before you know it, and your dread of expense reporting will soon be a distant memory!

Thanks again to Jason Calacanis, Michael Arrington, and the entire TechCrunch 50 crew for putting together a fantastic venue and the best launching pad that anybody could ask for. These guys did a fantastic job, under difficult circumstances, and I can’t wait to see what they cook up next year. With any luck, Expensify will be there!