Expense management startup Expensify is hoping to win over some new customers thanks to SAP’s acquisition of competitor Concur. To do that, it’s making it free for Concur customers to switch to its platform, and also offering a way for its competition’s users to leverage its products when submitting expenses into Concur.
The aggressive push comes after Expensify has quietly raised a small strategic round of funding to ramp up its sales and marketing. The company brought in $3.5 million that included Barracuda Networks, which could help cement a reseller relationship between the two.
All of which is good news for the industry, and for me personally. You see, a few years ago I worked for a smaller blog that wasn’t owned by a giant monster of an organization… and there I had the joy of using Expensify to create and submit my expense reports.
Having come from a world where I previously submitted paper receipts along with a printed-out spreadsheet of charges, being able to submit photos of my receipts through a mobile app was a revelation. But then I joined TechCrunch, that meant joining AOL, and THAT meant dealing with a whole different — and much less good — expense management platform called Concur.
Oh sure, you can still create and submit reports online. And there’s even a mobile app you can (theoretically) use to submit photos of your receipts. But none of it works particularly well. And the website itself looks like something that was built in the days of Geocities.
Anyway… Today is a glorious day, because I can now go back to submitting my expense reports through Expensify. The six-year old startup, which has sought to bring expense reporting into the 21st century, has just launched a way for Concur users to use the Expensify website and mobile apps to create and manage expense reports and export them to Concur.
From a user’s settings page, one can create a connection directly by just adding login credentials for a Concur account, and then submit expenses as they would normally. But they’ll have the added advantage of being able to use the Expensify apps and SmartScan tech, which scans receipts entered into the app and automatically recognizes and inputs vendor names, amounts, and such directly into an expense.
For Expensify, the strategy is more than just about getting individual Concur users to use its product instead — it’s about getting organizations to take notice and make a switch to its expense management platform. On that front, it hopes to benefit from the recent sale of Concur to SAP.
While it’s widely acknowledged that Concur mostly sucks, Expensify is making the argument that things are likely to get worse, just as things usually do when one big organization swallows up another.
Even if that’s the case, the problem for most Concur customers is that they are under contract for some amount of time. To convince those organizations to switch over, Expensify is basically offering them its service for free for the length of their remaining Concur contracts.
The initiative is part of a broader push for Expensify to win over customers in a competitive space. And that’s what the funding from Barracuda was all about.
That $3.5 million doesn’t sound like a lot, and it brings the total raised to just over $10 million in funding for the company. And Expensify is already profitable, so it didn’t need the cash. But according to CEO David Barrett, the deal could go a long way toward getting Expensify into Barracuda’s reseller network.
“Given we weren’t looking to raise (and actively wanted to minimize dilution to employees and existing investors), we set out to complete the smallest round we possibly could,” Barrett wrote in an email.
Contrary to the usual fundraising “game” played by most companies, in which the highest amount raised wins, Barrett says Expensify views the fundraising game more like golf: “We’re aiming to raise the minimum necessary to retain the most equity, ensuring the largest real-world outcome for everyone involved.”
Some might view that as a welcome strategy, especially in light of recent investor calls to lower burn rates across the industry. But is it a strategy that will work? I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, I’m just happy I’ll be able to use Expensify again.