TechCrunch50: Easy Expense Filing: Los Angeles Times, September 2009

I have to confess: I sometimes get a little weary from the hype that surrounds new technology offerings. This happens particularly when I’m wearing my reporter badge and walking the floor at a conference like TechCrunch50, this week’s blizzard of start-ups desperate for attention, held in a cavernous, deafening hall in San Francisco that is literally overheating from all the fired-up laptops.

Yet every now and then, I see something that seems so useful, and so incredible, that I have to remind myself that modern tech advances are truly something astonishing. Today, that was Xpenser.

It sounds simple: A website that will help you track your expenses. But I have no doubt that Parand Tony Darugar, the founder, is onto something when he says that expense filing has become an arduous task for many people, and he has figured a way to make it easy.

In fact, he didn’t necessarily plan to start a company. He built it for himself. He was working for Yahoo, living in San Diego, working out of the Los Angeles office, and constantly flying up to the main office in Sunnyvale, in Silicon Valley. “My wife told me I was six months and $20,000 behind in my expenses,” he said. “She said, ‘File the frigging things.'”

With Xpenser, Darugar makes it possible to add an expense in almost any way you can imagine. E-mail it, call it in, even take a photo of the receipt and mail it. Xpenser will convert the information and sort it, and ultimately analyze it. You can export it to Excel or other programs.

The service is free, although he will charge companies for extra features as they put their employees on the system. Free users will have access to only a couple of months of data, but they can always download the data to their desktop before they lose it.

It’s Darugar’s third company, and this one is self-funded. He already has 30,000 people using it.

While he was demonstrating the technology this week, Darugar said, a former Yahoo colleague showed up at his table. “Look,” he said, pulling out his latest expense report, “they screwed it up again.”

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