23Jul

Stop arguements with your flatmates with expensure

If only I knew about this web app when I was flatting it would have made my life a whole lot easier. Expensure is a awesome little application that helps you (and your flatmates) keep track of all living costs and works out how much each person owes.

For a more detailed description of the websites features you can take a look at the tour page.

I caught up with Andrew, one of the founders and he told me a bit more about the idea and how he came up with it.

We were sitting around one day trying to work out who owed who money after about three months of bills and expenses had been accumulated. We had each paid for loads of shared stuff, and owed money for many different bills. In the middle of trying to work it all out for the tenth time we thought, why don’t we just make an app that does it all for you?

I also asked him about his marketing strategy and his reply was so great I’m going to post it here as I’m sure it will benefit a lot of people.

I think this is a very interesting question because you are in a tough position to start with because you don’t have the budget to engineer a mass media promotion, nor do you have the public profile to engineer some free promotion off the back of who you are (see twitter).

The trick is to use your wit and skill to create a 3rd approach that makes use of the emerging social media landscape of bloggers, the social grap(h)evine and making contact with a few niche publications who have ownership of the social/business area that your app will attempt to make its home.

I did find the following blog posts to contain some pretty good practical advice, that is relevant to anyone launching a web app or business:

* http://blog.adaptiveblue.com/?p=689

* http://www.ryanblock.com/2007/10/pr-people-youre-not-blocked-but-do-your-homework/

* http://marshallk.com/thoughts-on-product-launch-promotion

* http://mashable.com/2008/04/18/bad-pr-pitches/

Thanks for the great information Andrew! This application definitely solves a problem that I’m sure most of the readers of this blog have experienced. Go and give it some love.

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3 Responses to “Stop arguements with your flatmates with expensure”

  • pkmk:
    July 24th, 2008
    5:59 am

    how is it different from billmonk?

  • Andrew:
    July 24th, 2008
    7:25 am

    That’s a great question, and definitely one we have asked ourselves,

    When we first started making Expensure, we had a look around to see what else was out there and Billmonk wasn’t even on the radar. As we got further down the development path they popped up and we had a look at what they were doing.

    At that point in time we had made an algorithm that resolved all of your outstanding and shared expenses by looking at who you owed, who owed you and how much these people owed each other, which Billmonk didn’t do, but have since added in.

    That in itself is one of the opportunity costs of bootstrapping in that you are also working another job full-time and it does take you longer to get to market. I also think that we will put our next app into public beta much earlier than we have with Expensure, which was running privately for a long time.

    When we did our first demo at pluglondon ( http://blog.expensure.com/2007/12/expensure-alpha.html ) last year we thought everyone in the room would know about Billmonk (simply because we did), but as it turns out, only 2 people did, and this is at an event full of techheads + startup types.

    So we feel confident that if these people aren’t aware of there being an “incumbent” within the market space, then the general public will have even less awareness, and it is this general public that we are pitching at.

    As a service, we see Expensure as being more focused on flatmates and travelmates and the pure sharing and squaring of expenses in these two situations as opposed to the much more general idea of “social lending”, which includes books, cds, frizbees etc.

    This is all of course in the eye of the beholder and on top of our great Circular Debt Resolution algorithm and other features which make the service super useful; the branding, marketing and promotion will play a vital role in establishing our position in what is a very young but fast growing market.

    I would also add one more question, and that is are they still going? http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2218471450&ref=s

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