San Francisco, CA The New York Real Estate Journal recently interviewed Alex Marlantes, co-founder and CEO of Everlance.
Q: What is Everlance?
A: Everlance is a 100% automatic mileage and expense tracker. The app is a set it and forget solution that uses your phone’s accelerometer and GPS to create a business mileage log and integrates with your business credit card for receipts.
Q: So…a better expense tracker?
A: That was a bit jargony. Essentially we’re using technology to replace the shoebox of receipts and paper mileage log lugged around by so many people.
Q: Okay got it, what kind of traction have you been getting?
A: Our iOS app was featured by Apple as one of their “Best New Apps” and a “Top Pick for iPhone 7.” Our Android app was featured in the Google Play Store as one of their “Best New Apps” so we’ve been doing well in the two App Stores. Ultimately, of course, it’s about what our users think about the product so the thing we’re most proud of is having the highest rated solution (4.8 stars, 1,000+ reviews) in the market. We also closely follow the likelihood of a user referring the product to a friend or colleague. We’re pretty new to the real estate market though so we’re aware that there’s still a lot of features we need to build.
Q: What kind of people in commercial real estate use Everlance?
A: We passed the 100,000 customer milestone recently and a fast growing number of those are in real estate. We’ve had some initial success in residential real estate that we hope we can recreate in commercial. We see everyone from commercial and residential real estate brokers and property managers using the app, to employees of companies that serve the real estate industry (anyone that services a property for example) that need to use expense tracking to get reimbursed. The app usage is really split between people that want a really easy-to-use solution for documenting expenses for taxes vs. those who want to use the technology to get reimbursed from their employer.
Q: What kind of expenses do the independent contractors record in the app?
A: Mileage is a really big one. The federal standard mileage deduction rate is 53.5 cents per mile this year. One way of thinking of that is that if you drove your personal vehicle 10,000 miles in a year for work that’s worth up to $5,350 as a deduction. That’s a lot of money for most folks. The biggest thing is to make sure you are claiming all the business miles possible. Many people, especially in real estate because the schedule can be so erratic, forget to record valuable business miles. The idea of having an app that sits in your pocket and catches all of those miles for you has a lot of appeal.
Q: It seems like Everlance is growing at an incredible clip, but there must be a ton of apps out there. What sets your product apart?
A: I think the focus on creating an automatic solution has really resonated with people. If you look at the market, the vast majority of the solutions used are still pen and paper or something hacked together using Excel and a few other solutions. People are starting to think “there’s got to be an app for that” and I think that trend has been a tailwind for us and other developers. Ultimately all of that data that lives on paper will be digitized to make life easier for everyone involved–it’s just a matter of time.
Q: Who are some of your competitors?
A: MileBug, MileIQ, and TripLog come up a lot on the mileage tracking side. When I talk to someone interested in using an app to track their mileage I usually recommend downloading three or four apps and testing them in parallel to see which has the user interface you like the most and does the best on accuracy.
Q: So what’s your business model?
A: It’s pretty straightforward–the basic service is 100% free. We hope that attracts a lot of people and that a portion of those will then pay us for Everlance Premium which has some additional bells and whistles. These are things like setting work hours or a schedule to classify trips by (e.g. 8-9 a.m. = commute, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. = work, and not to record trips on weekends) or the ability to integrate your bank account or credit card. Sometimes people ask us if we’re frustrated by the free users as there are some very real costs associated with geolocation data and storing the user data in a secure and private server, but we’ve always believed that the free users, even if they never convert to the paid tier, are incredibly valuable. Word of mouth has been our #1 source of growth so we love the idea of creating a small army of salespeople to evangelize the product for us. We’d rather give that value to users than spend it on marketing.
Q: How can someone try Everlance?
A: How can I not love this question? Just take out your phone and go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It’s a free app and it takes all of 60 seconds to get set up. We’d love to hear more from the commercial real estate market so if folks out there have any product feedback or suggestions I’d love to hear them; my email is just my first name at Everlance.com. We also want to do something special for NYREJ readers, so if you use code “NYREJ” you can get a 20% discount on our premium service if that’s something that would be useful to you. I hope I hear from some of your readers!