The success story of African fintech startup Expensya in Europe
In 2014, Karim Jouini (CEO) and Jihed Othmani (CTO) founded Expensya, a Tunisia-based startup that provides software designed to automate business expense management. At the time they launched Expensya, they were working as engineers at Microsoft in France when they realized the challenges companies face in managing their spend.
Reporting expenses, they discovered, was not just important for businesses, but important for the French government for tax purposes. However, most of the solutions used to track expenses were quite inefficient.
“In 2014, when Expensya started, companies were still using Excel spreadsheets or some form of bespoke data entry solution – the ‘so-called’ legacy solution – to record and track their expenses,” Jouini said. . Tech Cabal.
So they founded Expensya to provide expense management tools to businesses primarily in Europe, although the company has also expanded into Africa. The startup helps companies manage reimbursable expenses incurred by their employees on a single platform, according to TechCabal.
Expensya works by allowing users to take a photo of their invoice and upload it to an archive that all required stakeholders, including the government, could access. And according to the founders, this approach has made their startup the first legal archive of digital invoices in France and even in certain regions of Europe.
“With Expensya, if you go to a restaurant, you can take a photo of the receipt and throw it in the archives. Our archives are accepted by tax authorities in Europe as legal archives,” Jouini told TechCabal.
Today, the company operates in 90 companies and serves more than 6,000 companies with approximately 500,000 total employees.
The company is also one of the most funded startups in Tunisia and the Maghreb region combined. In 2016, it raised its first financing and followed other financing rounds in 2017 and 2018. The company recently raised $20 million from French and German investors like Silicon Badia, MAIF Avenir, ISAI and Seventure Partners .
Expensya has 160 employees spread across 20 countries including Nigeria, Kenya, USA, Thailand, France and of course Tunisia. Only 50 of the company’s employees are based outside Africa. The company opened an office in Paris in 2016 two years after starting operations in Tunisia. He then opened another office in Spain and Germany, with the aim of building a local team in Europe.
Even though Expensya was born in France, it was moved to Tunisia to help build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, the founders said.
“Although it is a nascent ecosystem, it has been an exciting time to start in Tunisia. There were lots of young talents but few successful startups. But it’s much cheaper to experiment in Tunisia than in other countries,” Jouini said.