Belgian startup Xpenditure has closed $5.7 million in Series A funding. The Brussels-based company offers an expense management platform aimed at enterprises, SMEs and sole traders — basically anybody who has to track and action expenses — and, ultimately, promises to do away with the need to manually file monthly expense reports.
“In our mission, it says clearly that we want to kill the monthly expense report,” Xpenditure CEO and co-founder Boris Bogaert tells me. “It’s such a terrible waste of time and effort, and it needs to die. It’s sad to see that some software companies take this broken process and go through enormous lengths to recreate all this waste of effort – only now in a digital form.”
In contrast, Xpenditure promises to handle the business expenses process “from receipt to accounting”. It consists of a mobile app to scan paper or electronic receipts and submit them to the startup’s cloud-based expense management software. The idea is that this part of the ‘data entry’ process is done on the fly rather than being left until the end of each month and done in batches.
The startup’s web app is then where this data can be further categorised and organised, ready to automatically generate and submit an expense report. “For us, a world class SaaS solution reinvents a process. Just make an app that scans the receipt on your smartphone, intuitive approval flows and seamless integrated in your ERP or online accounting solution,” adds Bogaert.
“Why should you wait until the end of the month to submit it to be reimbursed? That doesn’t make sense! Just click a button and let accounting handle it. All this inefficient stuff is because there used to be a paper flow, and paper flows are slow and wasteful. It actually genuinely baffles us that people throw out the paper, but keep the slow and wasteful process that was built around it.”
To that end, Xpenditure integrates with most of the major online accounting platforms, such as Xero, Sage One, E-conomic, Freshbooks, QuickBooks Online, Exact Online and FreeAgent. There’s also support for cloud storage service Dropbox and online organiser Evernote.
“Our customer is literally everybody with a job – in the world,” says Bogaert when I ask who Xpenditure’s target customers are. “We don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t have to send a receipt to their boss or accountant from time to time. We have enterprise customers like Pernod Ricard, Miele, Deloitte, but also a lot of SMEs like Shapeways and freelancers. We have customers in 40 countries right now and counting.”
Regarding competitors, Bogaert cites U.S.-based Expensify and Shoeboxed, but says that the European market is very different and most solutions are not well suited to the unique requirements of customers in Europe. “We spent a few years getting to know all the legal frameworks in Europe, and we built tech to roll out quickly in new markets, whatever their local rules are,” he says.
In Europe specifically, enterprise-focused Concur (SAP) can be counted as a competitor, but the humble spreadsheet and paper remain Xpenditure’s biggest target. “Our main competitors by far are still Excel sheets and stuffed envelopes full of receipts. Accountants hate these, because they get a big pile of messy paper at the end of the month that they need to sort out before the last day of the quarter or month.
“Xpenditure transforms that messy pile into a manageable stream of digital requests throughout the month – we are able to eliminate peaks for accounting people which is why accountants and CFOs are generally big fans of us.”
Meanwhile, Xpenditure’s Series A round was led by various private investors, including existing shareholder Bart Swanson (Summly, Badoo, Amazon). Other investors include Lorenz Bogaert and Toon Coppens (Netlog, Twoo – sold to IAC), and Jonas Dhaenens (Combell/Unitt).