Expensify Unveils New Virtual Travel Assistant Concierge Travel

Expense management platform Expensify launched its latest solution today. The offering, Concierge Travel, is a virtual travel assistant that makes it easier for travelers to build their itineraries and plan their excursions in the COVID-19 era.

“While most of us are avoiding travel right now, there are still essential workers whose trips can’t be cancelled or postponed,” Expensify CEO and founder David Barrett explained. “We want to help them travel in the safest possible way.”

Concierge Travel is available to Expensify cardholders and can be used to book flights, make hotel reservations, reserve rental cars and more – free of charge. All bookings via Concierge Travel also feature complimentary safety alerts and travel risk advisories from Global Rescue. The free Global Rescue membership offers a range of services for travelers including transportation to the cardholder’s hospital of choice in an emergency, as well as health and security assessments and entry and exit requirements for international travelers.

“With Concierge Travel, your free Global Rescue membership provides world-class safety and medical services,” Barrett added. “On top of that, Concierge lets you know about any COVID-related travel restrictions in advance, including specific stay-at-home orders in place, social distancing measures, and other info on the city you’re visiting.”

A Finovate alum since 2009, Expensify demonstrated the technology behind its expense management platform at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, in 2016. The company introduced its corporate card last fall, offering spending controls and expense management in a single solution that in some ways harkens back to the firm’s origins more than a decade ago.

“Expensify started as a corporate card way back in 2008 before we decided to focus on expense,” Barrett said when the card was launched, “so it’s fun to see the product come full circle with a card that naturally extends our existing platform.”

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Expensify has raised $38.2 million in funding according to Crunchbase. The company includes Redpoint Ventures, OpenView, PJC, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) among its investors.

Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels

Influencers as Innovation: Fintechs Turn to the Famous in Bid to Boost Visibility

Photo by Vishnu R Nair from Pexels

Expensify’s 2019 Super Bowl advertisement – Expensify Th!$ – featuring Adam Scott and rap star 2Chainz – was not the first time a fintech leveraged the shine from pop culture to illuminate itself.

But as Snoop Dogg celebrates his first anniversary as a high-profile Klarna shareholder and RDC announces that it has hired a network of social media influencers to help promote its new digital banking app, it’s clear that firms are all-in when it comes to using celebrity to showcase everything fintech – from expense management to pay-later ecommerce solutions. Alec Baldwin, who has become one of pop culture’s more potent pitchmen, was recently enlisted by eToro to help boost its CopyTrader marketing campaign.

The financial world has been as much a fan of celebrity as a customer engagement tool as any other industry with brands to build. Today, Mastercard announced that it was working with Swedish singer Nadine Randle to produce a song that “integrates the payment giant’s ‘sonic brand.” The company’s ‘sonic brand’ identity itself is the fruit of a partnership between Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda, who developed the score last year.

And from the local sports hero to the homecoming veteran, credit unions and community banks have long leveraged the willingness of regional-minded stars and celebrities to “give back” to the communities and neighborhoods they grew up in.

But as fintechs increasingly partner with and compete with these and other financial institutions – and take advantage of new forms of celebrity such as social media influencers – they are increasingly taking a page from the FI marketing playbooks when it comes to using star power to shine a light on the work they do.

Expensify CEO and founder David Barrett highlighted the way his company’s technology would make it easier for talents like 2Chainz to “make the most epic music video ever” in his Expensify Th!$ ad. But he also told Fast Company at the time that even though Expensify had the “strongest brand” in the expense management game, and was the fastest-growing such firm with the biggest customer base, “virtually nobody in the world knows who we are.”

The celebrity approach to marketing is not without its detractors. In a post at Medium.com last year, Millennium Management COO Ajay Nagpal noted data from the 2018 Sprout Social Index that suggested that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service recommended by a friend than a celebrity. Moreover, Nagpal raised an interesting question as to whether or not the star endorsement of a brand in fashion, for example, would have the same impact as the same star’s endorsement of a brand in wealth management or tax planning.

Perhaps it depends on the star. Last fall, Finovate audiences were treated to a surprise appearance from noted Canadian investor and star of the reality show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, who provided an on-stage, end-of-demo endorsement of Bambu’s Beanstox investing solution. And it’s a good bet that “Mr. Wonderful” is likely to be a more powerful advocate for white- label, B2B robo advisory technology than he might be for, say, leggings …

Additionally, as Director of Brand Strategy at Weber Marketing Group John Mathes wrote for The Financial Brand, even the best celebrity branding works better over time rather than as a one-off. Calling the practice “borrowed interest,” Mathes warned that while carefully targeted star power can produce positive results “brand building is usually a slow process. It takes time. It’s not a single campaign or gimmick.”

The impact of celebrity and influencers on the visibility of and engagement with fintech remains to be seen. But maybe more to the point, the fact that a growing number of fintechs are adopting the same approach to brand-boosting as their peers and rivals in the rest of the financial world may be a positive sign for the fintech industry in and of itself.

Expensify Combines Spending Controls and Expense Tracking with New Corporate Card

Expensify is the latest fintech to get into the card game. The San Francisco, California-based expense management solution provider announced today that its free corporate Expensify Card, will give businesses of all sizes a unique combination of spending power and control along with real-time expense management.

For Expensify, the new corporate card is a case of going back to the future. “Expensify started as a corporate card way back in 2008 before we decided to focus on expense,” company founder and CEO David Barrett explained, “so it’s fun to see the product come full circle with a card that naturally extends our existing platform. The card will make life easier for our customers, who no longer have to worry about lost receipts, late fees, or accidental overspending.”

The new offering automatically inputs expense details and produces an audit-protected receipt whenever an employee makes a transaction with the card. Expenses and transactions are shared with administrators in real-time, providing what the company called an “unmatched” degree of card control and significantly less risk of employee overspending.

The new Expensify corporate card also features continuous reconciliation of all approved expenses, spending controls and card limits on unapproved expenses, and no fees, interest, or personal guarantees. The card also offers perks from partners including Amazon Web Services, Stripe, Bill.com, and Stack Overflow.

One of Finovate’s earliest alums – making its Finovate debut in 2009 – Expensify most recently demonstrated its technology at our developers conference, FinDEVrSiliconValley, in 2016. At the event, David Barrett led a presentation titled Bedrock – Expensify’s Open-Sourced Infrastructure Secret Weapon, that discussed how the company’s geo-redundant database technology enabled it to become the fastest growing ERP software in the world.

This summer, Expensify became the first fintech company to win a Cannes Lio aard for Expensify This, a rap-influenced, marketing campaign featuring 2Chainz and Adam Scott. This year, the company partnered with bookkeeping franchise Supporting Strategies, and integrated with Southeast Asia-based ride-sharing firm Grab.

Founded in 2008, Expensify has raised more than $38 million in funding from investors including CIBC, OpenView Venture Partners, PJC, and Redpoint Ventures.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Analyst All Stars: Top Takes on Fintech’s Hottest Trends.
  • Artivest Inks Deal with WM Partners.

Around the web

  • Schmidt List podcast hosts ClickSWITCH CEO and Cofounder Cale Johnston.
  • LoanScorecard partners with LoanStream Mortgage to power QualONE.
  • Avaloq onboards Banque Morval onto Intesa Sanpaolo’s BPaaS solution.
  • Jumio joins NICE Actimize’s financial crime, risk management based ecosystem, X-Sight Marketplace.
  • CashFlows partners with Akamai to defend against cybercrime, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Bpm’online wins Best CRM Solution for Enterprises at MarTech Breakthrough Awards.
  • Kony launches Conversational AI DevKit to enhance the customer experience.
  • Trustly appoints Louise Nylén as Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Expensify adds CPE credits to its accountant training and certification course.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Blend Raises $130 Million in Series E.

Around the web

  • OneSpan wins SIIA CODiE Award for Best Fintech Solution for its Intelligent Adaptive Authentication technology.
  • Endor secures $100,000 contract to pilot its data analytics platform with MetLife Korea after winning first price at insurtech incubator Collab 5.0.
  • Passport’s parking app now available at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges.
  • Biometric Signature ID’s BioTect-ID gesture recognition platform has users draw their password.
  • Expensify becomes first fintech company to win a Cannes Lion for its Expensify This marketing campaign including a rap song featuring 2 Chainz and Adam Scott.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Expensify Teams Up with Bookkeeping Franchise Supporting Strategies

Expense management solution provider Expensify announced today that it is teaming up with Supporting Strategies, one of the biggest bookkeeping franchises in the U.S. The partnership will make Expensify the expense reporting app for thousands of Supporting Strategies’ small business clients across the country.

With this announcement, Supporting Strategies is the latest company to join the ExpensifyApproved! Partner Program. The program, which features companies such as CLA, Wipfli, and BPM among its members, provides discounts, co-marketing, and access to client onboarding resources, as well as opportunities to participate in networking events such as Expensify’s ExpensiCon.

“Expensify has greatly increased our ability to provide great customer service to our clients,” Supporting Strategies CEO and founder Leslie Jorgensen said. “With Expensify, we have a one stop shop for all company expenses that syncs directly to QuickBooks.” Jorgensen praised the platform’s one-click ability to approve and pay expense reports, as well as code company credit card transactions – all in the same app.

Founded in 2004, Supporting Strategies offers outsourced bookkeeping services and operational support to small businesses. The company leverages “best-of-breed” technology to offer a range of services including accounts payable and receivable, bookkeeping, financial reporting, and payroll administration. The company has been in a growth phase of late, announcing expansions in Florida and New Jersey in June; in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May; and Charlotte, North Carolina in March. Earlier this year, Supporting Strategies was named Top 50 Franchise Based on Franchisee Satisfaction by Franchise Business Review for the fourth consecutive year.

Expensify presented Bedrock: Expensify’s Open Sourced Infrastructure Secret Weapon at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2016. Company founder and CEO David Barrett discussed how the company leveraged Bedrock, its geo-redundant database technology, to help it maintain its position as the fastest growing ERP software in the world. Expensify is also an alum of our demo-only event, having demonstrated its Expensify Invoices solution at FinovateSpring in 2013.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 2008, Expensify has raised $38.2 million in funding from investors including OpenView Venture Partners, CIBC, PJC, and Redpoint. The company made international fintech headlines this spring with the news of its partnership with Southeast Asia ridesharing company Grab.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Expensify Teams Up with Bookkeeping Franchise Supporting Strategies.
  • Xero Partners with Stripe to Help SMBs Get Paid Faster.
  • HackerOne to Help Keep Facebook’s Libra Bug-Free.
  • Tieto Buys EVRY in $1.5 Billion Deal.

Around the web

  • Insuritas to launch insurance ecosystem platform to disrupt insurance delivery while creating new sources of recurring fee income for banks.
  • TechCrunch reports on the leadership shift at Plaid in which co-founder, CTO, and president William Hockey will step down.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Indian Fintechs Raise Capital; Expensify Partners with Asian RideShare Startup

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Central and South Asia

  • India’s ZestMoney raises $20 million in new funding.
  • Fiserv to streamline and automate cash management processes for Eurasian Bank of Kazakhstan.
  • Indian digital investment advisor Kuvera raises $4.5 million in Series A financing.
  • Telecom operator Tcell and Wallet Factory launch mobile financial app, TezSum, in Tajikistan.
  • Cashfree, an Indian payments company, raised $5.5 million in a round led by Smilegate Investment.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian credit marketplace FinanZero raises $11 million in Series B funding.
  • Tencent Holdings invests in Argentine mobile payments app Uala.
  • Euromoney considers the battle for dominance in Brazil’s emergent fintech space.


  • Expense management specialist Expensify integrates with Southeast Asia-based ride share company Grab.
  • WorldRemit initiates international transfers to UnionPay debit cards in China.
  • Singapore machine learning data analytics firm AIDA picks up investment from Mastercard.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ghanan fintech KudiGO raises $450,000 in seed funding.
  • The Financial Times looks at the rise of mobile money in Kenya.
  • South African accelerator and incubator Founders Factory Africa (FFA) and Standard Bank welcome five fintech startups to their incoming class.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Sberbank partners with Digital Horizon and Gazprombank to support biometric technology company Speech Technology Centre.
  • Billon Solutions wins approval from Polish Financial Supervision Authority to operate as a registered e-money institution.
  • N26 announces plans to open a technology and innovation center in Vienna, Austria.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Vocalink brings real-time payments to Saudi Arabia courtesy of new partnership with Saudi Payments, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority.
  • Investors from the Qatar Investment Authority believed to participate in SoFi’s $500 million funding round.
  • Financial Times looks at financial inclusion and “homegrown fintech” in Iraq.

Top image designed by Freepik

Expensify Integrates with Southeast Asia Ridesharing Company Grab

Expense tracking software company Expensify has integrated with Southeast Asia-based ridesharing startup Grab to automate expense tracking and rideshare reimbursement for Grab users.

When they connect their Expensify account to their Grab business profiles, Expensify customers who live in or travel to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia can automatically create and submit expense reports for their Grab rides. Upon booking rides in Grab’s mobile app, the receipt for the trip is automatically sent to Expensify.

Expensify opted to integrate with Grab because receipt volume for the ridesharing platform grew 200% in 2018. “Business travel has become one of Grab’s priority segments, with more users discovering and using Grab Business Profiles every day,” says Shawn Heng, Regional Head of Business Development and Grab for Business. “Partnering with Expensify, a great app for anyone who needs to keep track of receipts and expenses, is an exciting next step to make business travel even smoother for all of Grab’s customers.”

Grab is not the first ridesharing company Expensify has integrated into its platform. The California-based company integrated with Uber in 2016 and with Lyft in 2017. Today’s deal does, however, mark the company’s first partnership in the Southeast Asia region. Expensify also has partners in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.

Founded in 2008, Expensify most recently demoed at FinovateSpring 2013, where the company’s CEO David Barrett showed off invoicing technology. The company teamed up with rapper 2 Chainz and actor Adam Scott earlier this year to create a SuperBowl ad. You can check it out below:

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Kazakh Eurasian Bank Upgrades Cash Tech with Fiserv.
  • Token.io Teams Up with Omnio Group to Boost Open Banking.
  • Financeit to Power Mobile POS Financing for ServiceTitan.
  • Expensify Integrates with Southeast Asia Ridesharing Company Grab.

Around the web

  • The Five Minute Founder podcast interviews Jake Tyler, Finn AI CEO.
  • STRANDS and adorsys expand their partnership for digital transformation for global financial services.
  • Signifyd to power fraud protection for Solupay’s NetSuite SuitePayments.
  • Kony ships Kony Quantum for Microsoft Azure and Kony DBX digital banking suite on Kony Quantum for Azure.
  • Connect Financial Software Solutions partners with CuneXus to offer the CuneXus perpetual loan automation platform to its credit union clients.
  • Georg von Brevern joins Ixaris as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer.
  • Telenor to acquire majority stake in the Finnish telecom operator DNA.
  • Crypterium launches Crypterium SX, an AI-based system that ensures all transactions get the best exchange rates available.
  • Omnio Group and Token.io partner to deliver open banking and PSD2 compliance to Omnio’s financial institution customers.
  • Raiffeisen Bank International partners with Feedzai to bring advanced ML to European banking to fight fraud.
  • Jack Henry’s ProfitStars unveils Gladiator Total Protect, a suite of managed IT, network security, and compliance services to enhance banks’ cybersecurity and compliance management.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Expensify Celebrates Profitability, Cash Flow Positivity at Year’s End

“Profitable and cash flow positive” are among the prevailing themes from Expensify’s year end report for 2018. And as far as company founder and CEO David Barrett is concerned, this is news worth noting.

“(It) may sound silly to some – but it’s extremely rare in an industry in which companies burn through piles of cash to acquire users,” Barrett said.  He added that the receipt tracking and expense management platform’s growth was accelerating, which he said would lead to a “predictable trajectory for us to confidently push the bounds of what we can offer our customers.”

In a press release reviewing the year, Expensify highlighted a variety of achievements beyond its profitability and cash flow accomplishments. Topping the list was the company’s 94% year-on-year revenue growth for 2018, and the introduction of four updated plans – Track, Submit, Collect, and Control – to enable individual entrepreneurs and global enterprise companies alike to incorporate Expensify into their operations.

Other 2018 highlights include an expansion of its partnership program to include 35% of the top 100 U.S. accounting companies, and 70% of the top U.K. accounting firms. Earlier this year, Expensify launched a bank integration program, ExpensifyApproved! Banks, with Wells Fargo partnering for the pilot. This summer, the company was named Innovation Partner of the Year by NetSuite. More recently, Expensify introduced a training and certification program to help accountants and bookkeepers maximize their use of the platform.

2018 also featured integrations with top 10 U.S. accounting firm, CLA; private hotel booking platform, Hotel Engine; and a pair of major value-added tax (VAT) reclamation solutions, Global VaTax and Taxback International.

Expensify founder and CEO David Barrett presented “Bedrock – Expensify’s Open-Sourced Infrastructure Secret Weapon” at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016. The company has also demonstrated its technology on the Finovate stage, unveiling its Expensify Invoices solution at FinovateSpring 2013.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Expensify Celebrates Profitability, Cash Flow Positivity at Year’s End.
  • Quantum-Safe Security Specialist ISARA Raises $10 Million.

Around the web

  • Tradeshift acquires cloud integration technology innovator, Babelway.
  • Myanmar’s biggest privately-owned bank, Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank picks Finastra’s treasury management solution, Fusion Treasury.
  • Temenos secures core banking deal with Israel’s largest credit card company, Isracard.
  • Onfido reports sales growth of 342% in 2018.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.