When the Magic Came: How Xpenser’s Web App Turned into Startup Gold
As San Diego’s point man for Xconomy, I must say I admire the xtremely hip name of Xpenser, a startup that helps people track and manage their work-related expenses.
Founder Parand “Tony” Darugar tells me the basic concept of the company came to him out of necessity in 2008, while he was a Yahoo director of architecture on “Panama,” a project that overhauled Yahoo’s advertising systems after the $1.6 billion Overture Services acquisition. Darugar says he was overseeing teams in San Diego, Sunnyvale, CA, and the Los Angeles area, so he was traveling a lot. His airfares, hotel bills, and other expenses were piling up. But Darugar says he continually put off his personal expense reports because there was a general sense of urgency surrounding the project.
Over one six-month period of procrastination, Darugar says he accumulated more than $30,000 worth of unreimbursed expenses.
Darugar confides that his wife, a financial planner, didn’t exactly give him a high-five for his personal record. Still, he says that point marked the beginning of Xpenser. In addition to clearing his backlog of expenses, Darugar created a Website for tracking his personal expenses and wrote a mobile app that enabled him to send a text message on his BlackBerry as he incurred each expense. For example, he could send himself a message saying, “$60 for taxi from airport to hotel.”
His concept was to immediately send himself the pertinent information about his business trip expenses while they remained fresh in mind, instead of trying to remember the details weeks or months later.
Darugar says his friends and co-workers asked to join the system, and he added more features to the Website over time. “I started doing it to scratch my own itch, and the Website just kept growing.” When he described what … Next Page »