[Tech30] Fyle-ling expenses now as easy as liking a post on Facebook


Bengaluru-based expenses management startup Fyle plans to expand in the US and tie up with corporate travel companies.

You go out for a work-related dinner or trip and think that’s a job well done. Well, it is not until you’ve filed your expenses. Managing expenses is a time-consuming task, one that most office-goers would like to avoid. But what if it could be as easy as a couple of taps on your phone?

Enter Fyle, which promises to take over expense management. Founded in 2016, Bengaluru-based Fyle offers an expense management solution for organisations and individuals.

Taking a cue from his own experience of letting go of money due to him because of the hassle involved in claiming it, this Tech30 company was founded by Yashwanth Madhususan and Sivaramakrishnan Narayanan, ex-colleagues at Qubole, a big data service company.

"We wanted to make filing expenses as easy as clicking the like button on Facebook. People believe not being able to file expenses is a work-flow problem. I believe it is a data problem. There is a huge amount of data, which is never tapped or needs to be entered manually," Yashwanth says.

Fyle lets a user note his expenses directly from the merchant site. Suppose a customer receives a receipt from a cab aggregator like Uber or Ola in his or her email account, s/he can file the expense without leaving Gmail.

The same facility is available with Microsoft Outlook. When the user clicks on files that should be accessed by the app, Fyle extracts the required data and files expenses by integrating with merchant sites.

How does Fyle work?

Fyle has built an extensible application programming interface (API). Its core Internet Protocol (IP) lets it extract data automatically from any kind of receipt and it has extended its IP and linked it to third-party applications.

There are four ways to ‘Fyle’ expenses-

  • through the web app,
  • using the mobile app,
  • email extensions (the Gmail Chrome extension or the Outlook add-in), and
  • by forwarding receipts to Fyle directly.

Filing paper receipts is also simple – all you need to do is click a picture with your phone.

Team Fyle

When an employee downloads Fyle and adds her expenses, she gets to share the expense report with the organisation in the app itself, and this prevents fraudulent or double filing of expenses. In fact, this is the USP that Fyle is selling to companies.

The automated policy engine checks bring to light policy violations that are impossible for humans to detect. The policy engine notifies employees of policy violations in real time, offering details and potential action required for exceptional approval - all in a single second. This helps increase transparency and control.

When asked if Fyle would hamper the privacy of the users, Yashwanth says, “This feature is passive. Only when the user chooses to share their data from a third-party platform can Fyle access it.”

How Fyle makes money

Fyle is free for individual users. An individual user gets all the features that an enterprise employee would receive except the administrative and approver features. Fyle's revenue is essentially generated from subscription fees charged from companies, whose employees use the platform to generate their reimbursements. The company receives the administrative feature.

Fyle's subscription-based model depends on the number of active users; it ranges between $4 and $8 per active user per month. The company provides discounts based on volume.

Fyle claims to have over 75,000 customers across 47 countries. “We have 150 customers outside India, including One Wind Inc, Solarhome in Singapore, and Impraise - a technology company based out of Netherlands and the US,” Yashwanth says.

Other top clients include companies like 3CX, Lavva, Freshworks, Capillary Technologies, Zivame, PropTiger, Hero Group, Reliance Foundation, Edelweiss Tokio, Teach For India, and Royal Enfield. According to Yashwanth, most of Fyle's customers are from Mumbai and Delhi. “We earn between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 40 lakh per annum per account from India itself,” he says.

On a month-on-month basis, 3,000 to 5,000 users sign up with Fyle. The company claims to add two to four enterprise customers every month. The team size is also growing along with the client list. Fyle has increased its team size from 9 in December 2017 to 30 as of now.

Yashwanth claims the company is on track to hit $1 million in annualised revenues by April 2019.

The future beckons

The company has raised a total of $1.5 million since inception; it had raised its first round of funding from Pravega Ventures in 2016. They raised a fresh round of $1.1 million in April this year. The funding was led by existing investors Pravega Ventures and BeeNext. One of their customers, Freshworks Inc, also participated in the round.

Fyle plans to scale the team and the business with the new funding. “We will use a large amount of the funding to expand in the US through the SaaS model,” Yashwanth says. With more people opting for mobile-based apps to record expenses swiftly and correctly, expense management platforms have seen a growth in recent years.

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. Players like Rydoo, Happay, and Certify have been prominent in the market. However, Fyle stands out due to its data extraction feature from third-party platforms.

Fyle is now looking to extend its services to third-party travel platforms. They are already live with GoIbibo; users booking tickets through their GoBiz profile immediately get to file the expenditure.

“It is not official yet, we are integrating with multiple travel platforms,” Yashwanth says. Fyle is also planning strategic partnerships with corporate travel companies, by the end of this year. They plan to integrate with the company's users.

“Eighty percent of work expenses are travel related and that is where we want to create a hassle-free experience for our customers,” Yashwanth says.