Expensify takes on TripIt, integrates trip itineraries into expense reports

Recognizing that expenses are travel and often inextricably linked, expense-tracking startup Expensify has released a new trips feature that automatically cobbles together helpful travel itineraries from your various receipts.

Expensify Trips, making its debut in the company’s iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry mobile apps today, acts as an intelligent assistant, parsing travel information from receipts to build trip-based itineraries that can be turned into expense reports with a single click.

“You can think of it as a simplified TripIt, but integrated directly into your expense report,” Expensify founder and CEO David Barrett told VentureBeat. “If you’re using Expensify, you are already forwarding this exact same information to use in the exact same way. All we’re doing is providing you a better way to look at it.”

Expensify is a San Francisco-based startup seeking to make expense reports cool by making mindless what was once excruciating. The company imports credit card transactions and bank account information, scans uploaded photos and emailed receipts to pluck out relevant data, and does most of the heavy-lifting for its users.

Trips is an upgrade that’s simple in logic but sophisticated in implementation. You, the professional, book a flight, reserve a room, and forward the travel documents to Expensify as you normally would. Now, however, the service fishes out trip details to build a travel itinerary accessible from the mobile apps. You’ll get flight reminders, key details about your trip, and a little extra peace of mind. Upon return, because Expensify knows you just completed a trip based on travel dates, the startup will follow up with an email notice that prompts you to turn your trip into an expense report.

“We know your hotel, your airfare; we know your car rental. We know all of the credit card purchases between those dates. We know all the receipts that you scanned between that period,” Barrett said. “We have a very, very good sense of all these expenses that you’ve incurred while on this trip.”

Trips is co-powered by Expensify’s SmartScan technology and itinerary-reading expert WorldMate. The new trips feature tacks on travel-itinerary features made popular by apps such as TripIt, which was acquired by Expensify competitor Concur last year. If you want all the niceties and extras in your itinerary, such as maps and weather info, you’ll want to stick with TripIt — a fact even Barrett admits.

“We bet on simple. We think that the problem … is getting the key pieces of information in your hands when you need them most,” he said. “We’re not going to go and build this bloated experience like TripIt, we’re just going to keep it really focused on just the key pieces of information.”

Founded in 2008, Expensify has raised $6.7 million across two rounds of funding and has a staff of 17. The startup currently processes $2 million in daily expense reports. Expensify has 950,000 users spanning 140,000 companies, is inching closer to profitably, and does not expect raise additional funding, Barrett said.

“Expensify is kind of boring in that respect …we’re just on a good path.”

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