San Diego’s Xpenser Touts Free Web and Mobile-Based Expense Tracking

At the end of his presentation late yesterday at the DEMO Spring 2010 conference in Palm Desert, CA, Parand Tony Darugar said that when he returns to San Diego following the three-day event, “I will have no receipts in my wallet, and I won’t have to do an expense report.”

That’s because he uses Xpenser, a Web-based expense-tracking service that Darugar created with procrastinating, on-the-go executives like himself in mind. Before founding Xpenser, Darugar says he let his monthly business expenses pile up—until his wife, who is a financial planner, pulled him aside and told him he was six months and $20,000 behind in filing his monthly expense reports.

Darugar says filling out corporate expense forms is a tedious chore that many folks describe as “a pain in the neck” and a “waste of my time.” Xpenser is a free service operated by Tastr, a San Diego startup that Darugar founded, and which was among 65 companies to launch new products at the three-day DEMO conference. In fact, Tastr was the only San Diego company to attend the event.

While Darugar also demonstrated Xpenser’s capabilities at a TechCrunch event in September, he announced at the DEMO event that Xpenser is introducing premium accounts that have expanded features, and that charge a fee for business customers and their corporate clients. He also emphasized that Xpenser is a platform that can be used on the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry smartphones. Corporate expense tracking is an increasingly crowded field, but Xpenser seems to have some unique features.

As a free service, Xpenser’s strength is in its versatility. Users create their own account through the website, which automates the process of filling out expense forms by allowing users to use a cell phone or any other device to report each expense as it is incurred. The user can phone it in and leave a voice message, or use text messaging, e-mail, Twitter, instant messaging, and other online services. He even showed how to use an iPhone to take a photo of a receipt and send it to the Xpenser website, where it is converted into a Web-based format that can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, Quicken QIF format, and other programs.

Darugar gave several examples during his six minutes in the spotlight at DEMO. To record an $18 taxi ride from the airport, he used his cell phone to call an Xpenser phone number and described the trip for a voice recognition program that transcribed and stored the information. He also showed how to use an iPhone camera to simply take a photo of a receipt and transmit it to his Xpenser account.

I watched Darugar make his presentation in a live Web broadcast that DEMO arranged with BitGravity, a DEMO demonstrator and DEMOgod award winner in 2008.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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