On company expense? Bengaluru startup makes it easy to Fyle reimbursement claims

By Neha Jain|13th Sep 2017
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Fyle, an automated expense management solution for businesses and individuals, was launched in 2016 and has expanded its footprint to the US, Netherlands and Singapore.

Managing expenses is a painstaking and time-consuming affair. More so if you are working in an organisation and need to claim reimbursement for your spends. From collecting bills, classifying them under various heads, making entries into the system, getting approvals, waiting for processing time and getting back the money, it is a lot of work.

Taking a cue from his own experience of letting go some of the money due to him because of the work involved in claiming it, Yashwanth Madhusudan, 34, and Sivaramakrishnan Narayanan, 36, his friend and colleague at Qubole, started Fyle in 2016.

Fyle is an expense management solution for enterprises and individuals. The startup’s one-click expense report signals the end of expense forms and templates, making it easy for individuals, businesses and non-profits to keep track of their expenses.

The inception of Fyle

During their business trips, the founders used to discuss and engage themselves with various use cases, always keen to solve the expense management issue. Even though there were a dozen other apps that claimed to help manage expenses, the duo felt that all apps required one to be disciplined.

Yashwanth says, “My expectation was that I should be able to use something that took not more than a second to use, similar to liking the Facebook post of a friend or pinning an image on to my Pinterest board. In reality, I spent most Sunday afternoons going through a mountain of invoices to get my money back. It was frustrating.”

Today, he terms Fyle a “Pinterest for business transactions” as it eliminates manual effort/paper from expense reports.

Fyle is designed to automate and to link, store and share details of transactions instantly. The app links with browsers, email and other applications /portals that help the user to share the spend data with a single click. It uses a programmatic approach to applying company policy, detecting fraud and managing compliance. The platform captures all relevant figures like invoice number, date and amounts, which are tracked and prevent duplication or wrongful entry into the system. The accounts department get real-time feed of spend data, which is then processed and ready to be paid out with a single click.

The Fyle team

The MVP approach

The founders believe that Fyle’s USP lies in providing a one-click experience for an end user to submit expenses.

Fyle comes with an expense widget (plugin) that can be integrated with any application or merchant portal, enabling users to capture expense data with a single click. The widget is live on Google (G Suite) and Outlook, allowing users to “Fyle” an e-receipt for enterprises.

The IP powering the experience automatically extracts expense data from pdfs, images, emails and other workflow applications to solve the enterprise expense management problem.

The Fyle team has partnered with Microsoft and has run joint campaigns prompting Fyle integration, making Office 365 a productive platform. Fyle integrates with the enterprise system smoothly and users can receive relevant data and information on their Outlook (Microsoft’s product) page instantly.

At present, Fyle has a team of nine people based in Bengaluru.

Starting with a minimum viable product (MVP)-based approach, Fyle gained initial traction from small business houses. In early 2017, they expanded their clientele to large and medium enterprises and catered to Proptiger, Capillarytech, Teach for India, Freshworks and 15 others.

Fyle started operations in the US last month and has helped 15 customers across the US, Netherlands and Singapore so far.

Fyle’s revenue model

Fyle charges a monthly fee based on the number of active users in an organisation. They integrate with any organisation and charge only users with more than 3 expenses in a month. The platform can be integrated with existing applications of an organisation.

Yashwanth says, “Large enterprises make heavy investments in building internal systems for expense tracking. These systems are anything but employee-friendly. With Fyle, we can provide a superior employee experience and integrate with their legacy systems, reducing change management, risk management and overall provide better return on investment.”

Fyle is also opening PIs for merchants so they can make transactions on their portal reimbursement friendly.

“A lot of business users buy from consumer internet companies and get their bills reimbursed. Integrating with Fyle will help them provide a better experience, increase loyalty and get higher share of business,” Yashwanth explains.

In terms of funding, the team raised a seed round early this year led by Pravega Ventures and BeeNext. They also gathered support from prominent angel investors in the early stage, including Phanindra Sama (former CEO of Redbus), Joydeep Sen (Founder and CTO, Qubole) and Richa Kar (Founder of Zivame).

The market landscape

Travel and expense management software have seen growth in many enterprises, as they provide faster, more efficient and flexible services.

Technavio forecasts the global travel and expense management software market to grow at a CAGR of 6.96 percent and 7.70 percent respectively during the period 2016-2020.

Quite a few players are riding this growth wave and offering their services; they include firms like Happay, Xpenditure and Certify among others. However, Fyle stands out due to its exclusive data extraction feature that enables reduction or avoidance of heavy audit procedures.

Going ahead, the founders of Fyle want their firm to be a global leader in expense management.

“Like people no longer say ‘Search something on Google’; they just say ‘Google It’. Our goal is to make the world spend and just ‘Fyle’ it,” Yashwanth signs off. 

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