Saving receipts is often a bloody pain, and then there are those times that you lose them, or perhaps the ink printed on them fades into oblivion far more quickly than you would have liked to imagine (I can recall ending up with several receipts that hardly stayed legible for more than two weeks before becoming unrecognizable). Receiptron is the easiest to use receipt-saving system on the internet – there’s no app to install, you just take a picture of your receipt with your phone camera and mail it to their specially-trained robots. They’ll analyze your subject line and save and categorize it for you. From there, you can organize and report on your receipts, which are saved in an encrypted backup on Amazon’s servers, so you don’t have to worry about fire or flood ruining your shoebox or envelope containing your year’s worth of tax info. Right now, there are far too many small businesses and entrepreneurs who are storing all their important receipts in the wrong spot. It could be a shoebox, which could be destroyed by fire or flood. Or maybe a phone app, where all is lost if you lose or wreck your phone. Or maybe they’re saving their receipts in a complicated online system designed for employees to report expenses to employers. Receiptron is meant to be simple, safe, and single-purpose. If you want the easiest way to store your receipts for later, well that’s what they’re aiming for.
Right now, Reiceiptron is a one-man show, or if you’re into bad puns, a one-Dan show. Dan Hulton is the one in charge of the operation, and he’s been programming and developing web apps for well over a dozen years now – with a focus on clean, maintainable code that makes it easy to quickly respond to client requests and market focus. Dan has also spent plenty of time in the front lines of customer service, which means that he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t work right. Dan has experienced the righteous anger of a customer burned by a bad product, and so he works tirelessly to ensure that something like that doesn’t happen in the first place. When something inevitably does happen, then Dan will be on top of it as fast as possible.
Receiptron came about when Dan saw the pile of receipts that his wonderful artist girlfriend had accumulated by a year’s end. She dropped them off with her accountant to sort and organize for taxes, and Dan thought to himself, “Self, there has to be a better way!” Sadly, his self was wrong. It turns out that there isn’t much in the way of a solid, safe, easy-to-use receipt-tracking system. The better ones are aimed at a more corporate environment and focused expenses submitted from employees to employers, and the not-so-better ones, well . . . let’s just avoid bringing those up. To breach the subject of competitors, there are some real powerhouses in this field. Certify, Expensify, and Shoeboxed are three of the heavy hitters, but they tend to focus on relaying expense reports from employees to employers, which isn’t the niche that Receiptron is targeting. Then there are folks like Wave Receipts, Evernote Receipts, and Neat Receipts, who make great apps, but are more focused on receipts as a loss-leader to get you to sign up for their other premium services. And of course there are dozens of smaller “phone app”-based solutions, which require you to download and update an app, and tend to store their data on the phone. Lose the phone, and you lose your receipts. Not much better than a shoebox!
Receiptron faced the same problem that faces most startups: How do you get the word out there? Receiptron solves a specific problem in a very targeted way, but unless people know about it, they can’t help them. Receiptron hits the “sweet spot” in the middle, where artists, contractors — you know, small businesspeople — have a real need to just save their receipts throughout the year with as little friction as possible, and then provide that information for taxes or be able to provide them for proof of purchase. There are millions and millions of startups, entrepreneurs, small business people, artists, plumbers, contractors, crafters, eBay sellers, and more out there who could seriously benefit from a better solution for saving their receipts. Receiptron is designed to target the really small businesses out there, just one or a few people. Think about the people who run their businesses out of their home, who make crafts to sell on Etsy, or who fit a plough to their truck in the winter, or who repair computers, and so on. They don’t want or need to learn a full accounting solution, but they do want to make sure that they can claim the correct amount of expenses at tax time.
As for inspiration, there are only a few books on Dan’s bookshelf that he’s kept through my various moves. The foremost of them is The Authoritative Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. He received it at a young age — too young, in fact, to get many of the jokes, so going back and rereading it now is a wonderful opportunity for Dan to enjoy a new side of things. Calvin was always so industrious and imaginitive -every comic was a new inspiration. Similarly inspiring, but far more bittersweet is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who developed pancreatic cancer, and gave just about the most inspiring lecture Dan has ever seen. Pausch’s book is also amazingly motivational and has changed a lot of Dan’s bad habits for the better.
Receiptron currently has a monthly $5 fee and a yearly $50 fee – startup-dope-aug-2015 will give 25% off either plan, and is valid through all of August 2015.