Emburse, an expense management company, specializes in offering virtual and physical prepaid cards to help clients keep track of employee spending. After a year of being in business, the company took a left turn and decided to focus on building out an API to let developers integrate their card-generation capabilities into their own platforms. Co-founder Roger Gu sat down with pymints.com to explain why.
Emburse started with clients having only ten to fifteen employees, but as it grew, more companies with several dozen members on staff came on board and for them the company’s dashboard for managing cards and expenses proved inadequate. “Especially with contractors… We had customers in the on-demand delivery space, where they might have hundreds of contractors delivering food to restaurants,” stated Gu. An open API would mean these companies could integrate the card-generation capabilities with their existing software to generate cards at any required volume easily.
So, for example, instead of going to the dashboard to manually create new cards, teams could integrate the API with Slack and approve purchases or generate cards directly in their normal Slack groups. Gu claims that this kind of API integration is the future of the expense management industry.
Offering an API is not without its problems, though, Gu stresses. Balancing data privacy and the need to share data between platforms is ‘tricky’. But it’s still better than the traditional alternative.