The $10 Million Dollar Expense Tracker

YNAB started as a spreadsheet in 2003. Discover 15 more businesses that started as spreadsheets:

The $10 Million Dollar Expense Tracker

YNAB started as a spreadsheet in 2003. Discover 15 more businesses that started as spreadsheets:

Watch the youtube video here:

From Financially Struggling to Startup Superstars

This is the real-world story of how "You Need A Budget" (YNAB) began. It's about a couple, Jesse and Julie, who were newly married in 2003. Struggling financially, they managed their finances through a spreadsheet created by Jesse. Despite Julie's initial reluctance, Jesse decided to sell their budgeting tool.

Their Side Hustle

The side hustle of selling their personal budgeting spreadsheet soon evolved. They branded it "You Need A Budget" or YNAB. By 2006, just three years after they started selling their spreadsheet, they developed a web app. Interestingly, in 2010, they released a more sophisticated web app.

Now Generating $10M / Year

Taylor, YNAB's first employee, joined the team, followed by co-founder Jesse as the second official employee. Their business grew consistently, engaging with customers and expanding steadily. Now, they generate $10 million annually.

More like This

This story is part of a larger narrative. I've compiled a list of 16 businesses that began as spreadsheets, available at These businesses fall into three categories: validated by sharing (like Nomad List), using a spreadsheet as a product or backend service (like YNAB), and forecasts in a sheet (handled by companies like SpaceX).

YNAB's journey from a simple expense recorder to a $10 million/year revenue business is not just unique. Jesse and Julie developed a system that was practical and effective for their own use, and this personal success story turned into a profitable business model.

Seeking Spreadsheet Success?

If you're seeking inspiration, consider the spreadsheets you use in your Google Drive. Could they be marketable? To guide you, I'm creating a course called "Selling Spreadsheets", accessible at Better Sheets members will receive this course for free, and I encourage everyone to explore these stories at .

Learn how to Sell Spreadsheets

The course "Selling Spreadsheets" is over 5 hours long, covering topics from creating a marketable spreadsheet to marketing and sales strategies. It's designed to unlock the potential in everyday spreadsheet tools.

The rise of businesses like YNAB demonstrates the untapped potential in simple tools like spreadsheets. With 16 businesses in my list generating a combined revenue of $17 billion, the evidence is clear: your simple spreadsheet could be the next big business idea.

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