Anyone that’s ever had to deal with submitting expenses knows how big of a pain the process can be. Piles of receipts – some that have been sitting for so long that the ink has faded – and excel spreadsheets, and a headache at the end of it. Sound familiar?
Trippeo aims to make the whole process seamless and headache free.
Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
My name is Adarsh Pallian and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Trippeo – a travel and expense tracking app designed for today’s mobile workforce. I’ve travelled for work a lot, and I’ve always found the tracking and expensing process unnecessarily manual. Trippeo wants to take your receipts and burn them. More specifically, we want to track, submit and reimburse your expenses quickly and painlessly.
Existing travel and expense tracking software really lacks intelligence. When my partner and I were trying to determine our core values, we wanted to create an expense app that was smarter, dead simple to use and for a generation that has less patience for a poor product experience. Our goal was to make automation an integral part of business, from tracking flights to expense reporting and reimbursements.
What has been the most challenging part about running this business and how have you addressed it?
We didn’t anticipate the incredible attention Trippeo would receive when we first launched. We were a new company, and while we were eager for it, we weren’t ready for the spotlight. The early attention exposes you—we were grateful, of course, but at the same time, it highlighted how much work we still had to do. Work we should have already done.
I am so fortunate to have the strong support of my incredible team. We’ve also secured backing of some amazing investors to help us barge ahead with confidence. Everyone talks about how your product is the foundation of your company, but really, it’s the people you work with. Pick a good team and you’ll be excited to come into work.
How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of Trippeo?
Well, I’ve been active in the Vancouver startup community for a decade or so. For a long time, I ran a digital agency that incubated start-ups. Prior to Trippeo, I had created a different company called Geotoko, a location analytics platform, that was acquired by HootSuite in early 2011. As a result of that sale, I got a front row seat to HootSuite’s massive growth, and got to watch Ryan Holmes execute on his vision. I feel lucky to have been there at those critical stages, and to watch Ryan successfully scale, manage and grow a company. You can’t walk away from an experience like that without it influencing the scale of your next project.
What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
Everyone hates spreadsheets. That’s probably one of the unifying facts of mankind. But the fact remains that 50% of small and mid-size businesses still live in a world of cells.
We’re building a holistic solution for business travel, rather than throwing up a single feature and calling it the answer. By tracking business expenses and travel issues in one place, Trippeo ties together what should ultimately be a unified experience.
How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
I think a person has to be born an entrepreneur. The desire to force a thing to work for years on end – it’s not something that is easy to choose. There were always times when things didn’t go my way – it took a lot of work, a lot of late nights and trial and error (mostly error) to make it through the difficult periods. To get past challenges, I had to really hone my ability to recognize the right opportunities when they presented themselves, and have the confidence to go for them. That’s, well, that’s largely the trial and error I am talking about.
What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
I would have to say Iron Man himself: Elon Musk. He decides he’s going to do something big and crazy and actually achieve it. First it was Paypal, and then he’s on to things like SpaceX and Tesla. He’s got inspiring vision, and the audacity to persevere in spite of naysayers… well, in spite of the limits of technology. If he wants to do something impossible, he builds the technology that makes it possible.
What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Stewart Butterfield, definitely. He’s been through a very public roller coaster of ups and downs with Flickr and Tiny Speck, but he’s always shown up, and he comes to the table with strength and vision. He created such an incredible and timely software with Slack. It is much more sticky than other apps on the market, and it makes everybody’s life so much easier. I would love to work with him one day.
If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
I would probably tell my younger self to have more fun, and that it’s the journey that counts. Make opportunities outside of business, too – take time to do things you always wanted to do. Work hard, but play along the way.
What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
My core network of mentors, friends and apprentices were indispensable in getting me to where I am. My most valuable resource is a great community of smart folks who open doors and look out for me.
What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
The first thing I ask any aspiring entrepreneur is, “what’s your tolerance to risk?” To be successful, you can’t look back. If you’re going to do it, do it fearlessly. Give it all you have and don’t take shortcuts. But first, take your time finding the right people to join you. Find people who share your vision and whose skills complement your own.
Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to casey(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.