Expensify CEO David Barrett stood by his decision to urge his clients to vote for Joe Biden, saying the benefits of the controversial call to action far outweighed the costs.
Barrett’s Oct. 22 email calling a vote for President Trump “a vote against democracy” prompted a wide range of reactions among the millions of Expensify users who received it, with some praising the company for taking a stand while others threatened to take their business elsewhere.
But the criticism didn’t stop the expense-reporting software provider from posting its highest monthly revenue ever in October, putting it on track to rake in $100 million in annual recurring revenue this year. That milestone underscores the strength of Expensify’s business — which allowed it to take the risk of wading into politics right before Election Day, Barrett said.
“I talked to a lot of CEOs and they said, ‘You’re crazy!’” Barrett told The Post in an interview. “If we’re going to get some lumps we can probably weather them, and sometimes things are more important than business.”
“Not everyone is in the same position to do it as we are, but we can,” he added, noting that Expensify is profitable and has taken little investment since its founding in 2008.
While Barrett’s email sparked an uproar on social media, he said he only got responses from a tiny fraction of the people who received it, and roughly 90 percent of them weren’t paying customers. Businesses pay to use the San Francisco-based company’s software to manage expense reports but a big chunk of its users simply track their own expenses with its free app.
The email did attract some potential new customers, Barrett said, though he doesn’t expect it to produce an “instant revenue bump.”
“The people who make decisions for their business on this kind of thing aren’t reactionary,” he said. “They aren’t going to uproot 1,000 employees’ lives just because of one email.”
But the email has sparked a surge in interest in jobs at Expensify, which has 100,000 customers. Barrett said the company has received roughly twice as many applications as normal in the month since the message went out.
That influx has been driven by people who are “actually attracted to the ideals” of Expensify, whose lean staff of 130 employees played a role in drafting the fateful email, according to Barrett.
“We claim to have these values and we claim to stand up for these values,” he told The Post. “We stood up for them in a controversial way, and that’s an important thing just for the morale and the confidence of the employee base.”