Interview with Matthew Murphy (Lemon)
Lemon is a tool for collecting all your receipts in one place.
I interviewed Wences Casares and Matthew Murphy, Lemon co-founders to find out more. This interview is the seventy fourth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Wences and Matthew for the interview!
Describe Lemon in under 50 words?
Lemon shows you where your money really goes. With Lemon, you can collect and store your paper and email receipts in one place, so you can see exactly how much money you spend and what you spend it on.
What was your inspiration for founding Lemon?
We’re in the 21st Century, but our receipts are stuck in the 20th Century. It’s amazing that paper receipts are the same today as they were over 100 years ago. They are awkward and an inconvenience, but there’s a ton of value within them. The team at Lemon loves to build innovative technology that delivers a better solution to age-old problems. And so we took on the challenge of innovating receipts.
How did you come up with the name?
Wences’ (pictured right) first mentor was a farmer in Northern Argentina who built the world’s largest Lemon farm and became the key supplier to Coca-Cola for Lemons. As a thank you for all of the advice that Wences received from his mentor, he decided to name his first company: Lemon Bank, which was the largest bank for the un-bankable in Brazil. Wences bought the url lemon.com in the late 90s and has been holding onto it ever since. When we came up with this company idea – we chose to use lemon.com as the company’s domain for the following reasons:
1.) We like brand names that do not mean anything relative to the business, so that they can become empty containers to be filled with content, personality and character.
2.) It was important for us to have a short domain that’s easy to remember.
3.) The name has to be memorable!
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Lemon?
Building the proprietary technology to capture all of the valuable information from the paper receipts has been the most challenging part of developing Lemon. Turning an image into data is not an easy task and requires multiple complex technologies to be bridged together to capture, analyze and present the information.
How long did it take to put together Lemon?
We came up with the idea for Lemon in May of 2011 and delivered our first product to the market in July of 2011. This was a minimum viable product, which followed the Lean Start-up Methodology. We then found product market fit and continued to build out the technology and add additional features. We then came out of beta on 10/13/11.
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
We are always adding new features to the product and one of the upcoming features that we are excited about is the Business Plan. We all hate expense reports and think they are an incredible time suck. So, the Lemon Business Plan does away with expense reports and creates them in real time without the hassle. All a Lemon user has to do is take a picture of their receipt, select if its reimbursable or not, and then the receipt is captured, digitized and sent straight to the company’s accounting team for reimbursement. This product will go live in early March.
Has Lemon uncovered any bad spending habits in your family?
Well, I have to be careful how I answer this question, so my family does not get mad at me. I built the Lemon Family Plan to help families like mine get a better perspective at where their hard earned money goes each month. The Lemon Family Plan let’s you link up to 10 accounts together and see all of your combined spending broken out into standard categories (Food & Dining, Health & Fitness, Travel, Personal Care, Housing, Auto & Transportation, etc…). Our view is that when you can see where your money is being spent – then you can start to spend it smarter.
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
How much social media has impacted the way people communicate. 5 years ago, social media sites were more of a game where you could poke people or comment on their walls, and now Social Media is ingrained into our culture as the dominate vehicle of communication.
Where do you see Lemon in 5 years time?
We believe that the traditional wallet you keep in your back pocket or purse will be re-imagined and technology will drive a lot of this innovation. Today, the wallet is a staple that you always have with you. You use it to hold your cash, credit cards, loyalty cards, identification and more. The wallet has been this way for a long time and is need of some technological innovation to make it better and fun. Lemon wants to lead this innovation and is working on some exciting new products to re-imagine your wallet.
Has Lemon got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
We have been pleasantly surprised at the quick growth Lemon has experienced since our public launch in October. We recently passed the 1MM user mark and have been growing very fast.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
The Wallet in your back pocket.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Broadening the appeal of our product so that it expands beyond the early adopters and creates value for the majority of consumers around the world.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m really excited about the next generation of our product and some of the exciting technology innovations that our team is working on!
Can you convince the reader to start using Lemon in under 50 words?
Whether you’re looking to save money or just trying to figure out exactly where your money goes each month, Lemon makes it incredibly easy to get a handle on your overall financial situation.
Finished reading? Check out Lemon!