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Splitterbug (YC S11) private beta: track expenses with friends from your phone (splitterbug.com)
77 points by matt_holden on July 4, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments



I wish you all the best, but I'm skeptical that this could become a viable business. Is this a problem that people struggle with enough that they'd pay for a service to help them with it?

What would differentiate Splitterbug from, say, BillMonk? Or just an e-mail? What are you planning on for revenue? One-off App Store purchases, or something more?


We're both very big Billmonk fans, but unfortunately the application hasn't seen very much improvement since it was acquired a few years ago. Splitterbug helps you solve the same problem using some very cool tech that Billmonk didn't have access to (native iPhone apps/Android/Facebook graph/etc).

Our primary focus right now is building an app solves the problem of splitting bills and tracking debts. We've got a few ideas about monetization, but if we can't build a useful app first, that discussion is moot.


What's the very cool tech? Why does an app like this require particularly new or innovative technology?


Thanks for answering on it. I wasn't ever a big Billmonk user, but I can see your point about opportunity being present when acquired apps stagnate.

Again, good luck with it. I look forward to seeing where you take it.


Using mobile devices to facilitate a shared buying experience with friends is huge. This app is a first step into this wide open and potentially massively profitable space.

Discounting the future of the business from a landing page describing its very first private beta is not only mean-spirited but also shortsighted.


While I almost agree with your first paragraph, the second made my eyebrows raise (and that's why I downvoted). "mean-spirited" and "shortsighted" are very strong words for a valid question - the grand-parent was quite polite, so no need to be defensive.


I guess any entrepreneur already thought about building that application once in their life. I myself thought of it a lot of time.. but always dismissed it thinking that it wasn't a monetizable business and only a fun hack project over a weedkend.

However, these guys seemed to have proved me wrong as they're in YC while my "serious business ideas" were rejected. Or, maybe YC decided to invest mainly for the team (Both founder were "Product manager at Google") ? Still, I'll follow their path and I hope they'll be successful :)


Same here. They seem to solve a problem I personally have.

Currently, I use emails (sent from my phone) to "remember" what I owe people and what they owe me, but it's kind of annoying. I also thought about building an Android app, but I think I'll just use this instead.


A pattern I've observed (for a few guys who've gone through YC) is that they pitch a larger vision, but the process and/or Graham team leads them to implement only a stepping stone to that vision, at least as a first release.


Interesting - it looks really similar to my app Splitsies which launched late last year: http://splitsies.net/ - it'll be interesting to see how their dependence on Facebook connect works out for you.


One note about your website: I recommend enabling the controls on that jQuery scroll widget for the iPhone. Having the screen scroll away while i'm checking out the UI is a little annoying (and then having to wait a full cycle to see the screen again).

Other than that, I certainly remember keeping tabs on my roommate debts and loans during college, but it was never much of a chore and didn't bother writing it down. I guess some people may need this more than others, for example people with lots of outstanding buddy debt, but I can't see it being a huge number.

What are your plans for expanding this? Simply keeping it as is and doing one thing well? It may serve to function better if it helped those key users manage their debt, using burn down charts for a game effect, or something. Maybe tying it into a mint account (is there an API?) so it can show up on top of their personal finances? Maybe just adding a tip calculator/bill splitter typical app functionality, so people can get rid of their old one and encourage them to download this?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but at a glance it seems far too niche and not much room to grow.


This could enable a group of friends to build up fairly long-running tabs with no effort, then pay whenever the tab hits a convenient amount. Less friction, more fun. I hope you guys succeed.

Currently, even in a group of friends where we basically always split everything down the middle to keep it simple, not even having to do a split at all until a later, convenient time would be fantastic.


Idea! Take a photo of the receipt, each friend sees it, can mark each item as his own.


Maybe this would be good in some circles, but for my friends overkill. Just need X/N, with a simple option to pre-assign a portion of the bill to the one guy at the table who drinks 2x everyone else.


I've just released an iPhone app, called You Owe Me, which syncs purchases and repayments between people, using FB connect and/or normal email/password login. I think it's a pretty exciting space really, with a lot of potential. Signed up for their private beta - will see how it develops.


You can start using the web version of their app right away by going to http://splitterbug.com on your mobile (at least it worked on my iPhone) and signing in with Facebook.


Good eye :) The web version lacks a lot of optimizations we were able to add on the client though. If you're excited to start using the thing now, shoot me an email at support [at] splitterbug.com and let me know what device flavor you prefer (iPhone/Android). I'll get you set up.


Thanks -- I got in on the iPhone beta and it looks good so far. I'm excited to see this service become public -- I think it could be super useful.


I already talked to you guys about this on twitter, but I'll put some of it here anyway.

Love the concept for the app, as a college student I can see how it would be really helpful.

Criticisms: Wish you could use phone contacts along with the facebook connect. That way you aren't dependent on internet and the app doesn't look like it is made for facebook. Also when you go to the people tab it just shows a white screen, which is discouraging and makes me think that there is nothing there. It would be much better if you could populate the list and make it searchable in the same way the facebook app does.


Are you guys iPhone only, or do you have an Android client?


We have both iPhone and Android clients and we're looking for beta testers for both.


I'm also happy to beta test the iPhone app.

I currently use something called Share-a-Bill quite heavily, but it has some shortcomings. I've also just moved into an apartment with 2 friends, so we're looking for a better application for sharing bills.

Email: edanm@btlms.com


I'd be happy to help beta test for iOS. Email in profile.


From the screenshots it looks like you're using some sort of cross-platform framework. Any plans for a (real) native client?


You seem to have exceeded your Google App Engine service quota. Even it if still loads after a few F5!


Really great idea. This is perfect for roomates, especially college aged. Also very good for ADHD types like myself! Can't wait to start using it.


That's a great idea for an app! The only problem is that I don't have a cell phone. :P Is there an Android version too, or is it just for iPhone?


Both an Android and an iPhone versions are looking for beta testers :)


Well I won't have a phone for another few months, but if you're still looking for testers then, I would be happy to help out.

And if you're already done testing, then I'll download the app anyways!


Looks similar to Buxfer and Billmonk...


YC S11?? This is a feature.


Should call this app ArgumentCauser!


You mean ArgumentSolver




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