One of the biggest issues companies face when on a cost cutting drive is getting employees on board with the plan, but a recently launched Sydney startup, Expense Mate is hoping to change that by rewarding staff for helping make savings.
Founder Cemlyn Jones said the software platform, which launched in early February, was initially developed with a focus on the A$2.6 trillion spent on global corporate travel annually, but when covid-19 hit and travel ground to a halt, he moved to incorporate a wider net of company expenses
Expense Mate’s business model takes 10% of overall savings and employers allocate a percentage to share among employees – typically between 20%–40% – to leave the company with a minimum 50% cost reduction.
When Jones first launched it, and corporate travel was still happening, the startup had signed up 30 Australian companies and will 50 trips in the system, the average saving was $150 per domestic trip.
The subscription software service lets management set budget goals and staff allowances, right down to positions and expense categories, as well as preferred partners or suppliers. When an employee comes in under budget, they are rewarded according to their category.
“Expense Mate can be configured to benefit employees with a variety of rewards, from cash-based incentives such as gift cards to major retailers to time off work or charitable giving for more senior employees. We are looking into offering childcare, wellness-focused rewards and carbon offsets in the near future, too,” Jones said.
“Now more than ever, Australian businesses are looking for ways to keep their costs down. At the same time, they are doing all they can to minimise any negative economic impact on their staff and reduce layoffs in the face of COVID-19. Expense Mate is a tool that helps both employer and employee to collaborate on lowering business expenses, ultimately benefiting both.”
One benefit, Jones says is that it minimises the impact on team morale in trying to find savings across a business.
“Expense Mate can be configured to benefit employees with a variety of rewards, from cash-based incentives such as gift cards to major retailers to time off work or charitable giving for more senior employees. We are looking into offering childcare, wellness-focused rewards and carbon offsets in the near future, too” he said.
“Not only does Expense Mate take a people-first approach, the software offers employers insights over time too, which will offer long-term benefits. There’s nothing else on the market that complements existing corporate travel management and expense management tools, while empowering employees and rewarding them for saving the company money.
The startup has emerged from the 15 ventures in the Startmate’s SYD20 cohort, with Jones taking a $75,000 investment from them.
“I was confident that we could bootstrap Expense Mate and take it to market without the help of an accelerator, but the vested interests of Startmate’s mentors means that you’re part of a knowledge network that genuinely wants to see you succeed,” Jones said.