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Spendesk makes expenses and company cards suck less

TechCrunch TechCrunch 15/06/2016 Romain Dillet

Meet Spendesk, a new eFounders-backed startup that wants to simply your company’s spendings with highly customizable virtual and good old plastic cards. Spendesk provides a central dashboard to track budgets, receipts and expense approvals for European companies.

You may think Spendesk looks like Pleo or Emburse, but the French startup has a few tricks up its sleeve. After you’ve uploaded money to your Spendesk account, you can manage how your employees are going to spend it.

When it comes to online purchases, employees can install a nifty Chrome extension. When you need to order something online, you can make a request using this extension. Once approved, the Spendesk extension will generate a virtual card for this specific transaction.

You can manage spending policies so that some or all of your employees have a bit of leeway. For instance, anybody could generate a virtual card for expenses below $75 without requesting approval, and the office manager could generate virtual cards for expenses below $500.

Maybe you’re going to use a Spendesk card to pay for a LinkedIn or Adobe subscription. Spendesk lets you view all your active subscriptions and disable virtual cards in a couple of clicks.

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But what if you’re out and about? For small companies, employees usually pay with their own credit cards and then file a receipt to get reimbursed a couple of months later. It’s cumbersome and it can add up if you travel a lot for your company.

Spendesk also sends you good old plastic cards. Similarly, you can set up offline budgets for your employees, and Spendesk will make sure your employees upload receipts by sending reminders.

Now let’s talk about the startup and not just the product. There are two reasons why Spendesk could generate quite a lot of revenue.

First, Spendesk works like a giant prepaid card management tool with a software-as-a-service approach. You need to upload money to Spendesk’s bank account before using it. And because of that, Spendesk can charge you directly without charging your bank account.

Every month, Spendesk deducts money from your uploaded money — it doesn’t feel like you’re paying anything, but you’ll end up with less money on Spendesk. Quite neat. Plans start at €50 per month for 3 users and you can end up paying €300 per month for 35 users and €7 per additional user.

Second, usually, card companies get a tiny cut every time you spend money using a plastic card or a virtual card. The payment processing company gives some money to Visa or MasterCard for managing the payment network, and Visa or MasterCard then give a little bit of money to the bank or financial institution that issued these cards. We’re talking about pennies, but it doesn’t hurt.

While the company has recently launched publicly, dozens of clients have already uploaded over €1 million. It doesn’t say much about the company’s monthly recurring revenue, but it’s a good start.

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