Abacus (YC W14) is a platform that provides an easy way for employees to get reimbursed for company expenses. Instead of submitting a form at the end of each month, Abacus lets employees snap a picture of a receipt on the fly and, after company approval, get reimbursed just a day or two later.
The company has expanded considerably in the past year, signing up customers like Dropbox, Stripe, and Managed by Q. However, it quickly noticed some of these companies were using Abacus to reimburse an employee just once or twice, after which the user would stop using the app. This wasn’t typical user behavior, as most employees use Abacus to request reimbursements on a frequent basis.
After some digging, Abacus figured out that these companies had begun “secretly” using the app to either reimburse interview candidates for travel expenses (like a flight to company headquarters), or to reimburse part-time 1099 employees for supplies purchased on the job.
Omar Qari, cofounder of Abacus, explained that companies had reimbursed more than 2,000 interview candidates before his team caught on. Abacus decided to turn this hack into a real feature, and today launched official support for interview candidate and independent contractor reimbursements. This new feature will let companies drop reimbursement times for these groups from an average of 40 days to two days, according to Qari.
Qari also mentioned that facilitating travel reimbursements for interview candidates is a great way to get their foot in the door at larger companies, by starting with just a small group of the company’s reimbursements. While he wouldn’t give a specific name, Qari mentioned that a major public company will soon use Abacus to reimburse job candidates for travel expenses.
Abacus will still charge the same fee for these special use cases, which is $5 per user per month.