The Success Story Of How African Startup Expensya Thrives In Europe

by Duke Magazine

Expensya, a Tunisian startup that provides software to automate expense management for businesses, was founded in 2014 by Karim Jouini (CEO) and Jihed Othmani (CTO). They were working as engineers at Microsoft in France at the time they founded Expensya when they became aware of the difficulties businesses face in managing their expenses.

They discovered that expense reporting was not only important for businesses but also for the French government for taxation purposes. However, the majority of the solutions used to track expenses were ineffective.

“In 2014, when Expensya launched, companies were still using Excel spreadsheets or some type of bespoke data entry solution—these called existing solution—to record and track their expenses,” Jouini told TechCabal.

As a result, they founded Expensya to provide expense management tools for businesses primarily in Europe, though the company has since expanded to Africa. According to TechCabal, the startup helps businesses manage reimbursable expenses incurred by their employees on a single platform.


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Expensya works by allowing users to photograph their invoices and upload them to an archive that any required stakeholder, including the government, can access. According to the founders, this move elevated their startup to the status of the first legal digital invoice archive in France and even some parts of Europe.

“If you go to a restaurant, you can take a photo of the receipt and save it in the Expensya archive.” “Our archive is recognized as a legal archive by European tax authorities,” Jouini told TechCabal.

Today, the company operates in 90 companies and serves over 6,000 corporate businesses, employing approximately 500,000 people.

In addition, the company is one of the most funded startups in Tunisia and the Maghreb region as a whole. It received its first round of funding in 2016 and subsequent rounds in 2017 and 2018. Silicon Badia, MAIF Avenir, ISAI, and Seventure Partners are among the French and German investors who have recently contributed $20 million to the company.

Expensya employs 160 people in 20 countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, the United States, Thailand, France, and, of course, Tunisia. Only about 50 of the company’s employees work outside of Africa. Two years after launching the business in Tunisia, the company opened an office in Paris in 2016. It then opened offices in Spain and Germany, to establish a local team in Europe.

Expensya was founded in France but relocated to Tunisia to help build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, according to the founders.

“Though a nascent ecosystem, Tunisia was an exciting place to start.” There were many young talents but few successful startups. However, it is much cheaper to experiment in Tunisia than in other countries,” Jouini explained.

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