E TaxDrop: Interview With Founder & CEO Alice Cheng

We had the opportunity to interview Alice Cheng, the co-founder and CEO of TaxDrop. TaxDrop was founded in 2016 as a mobile app that connects users with a licensed CPA for tax preparation.  The company currently has a live crowdfuding campaign.


Q. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and TaxDrop? When was your company first launched?
A. TaxDrop automates tax season for consumers, from gathering tax documents to filing the tax returns. Users are connected with a licensed CPA via mobile app and simply snap pics of anything such as W-2's/1099's. All it takes is ten minutes. Featured at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017, the TaxDrop app is currently available for download on the Apple (AAPLApp Store. The tax industry is an $11B market with over 149M individual returns filed annually. The TaxDrop founders all have financial experience from Deloitte, Moody's, and CPA tax/accounting experience.

I graduated from Rutgers Business School in 2015 and started my career in International Tax at Deloitte, gathering my experience in high-wealth and multinational tax planning. The roots for my individual tax experience started before I had graduated and soon I found the two professional experiences enabled me to combine my core competencies into something extremely helpful for the consumer. TaxDrop launched during tax season 2017.

Q. At what point did you realize you had a viable business model?
A. 
I can’t owe it to a specific moment in time, but each time speaking with consumers for feedback validated TaxDrop’s business model and made it stronger. In the early stages for TaxDrop, we had tabled at a local NYC coffee shop for an entire weekend from 7 AM through the afternoon just so we could meet and share TaxDrop with busy locals, the exact type of people we were hoping would use TaxDrop in the future. Since then, we’ve had tremendous support and fantastic encouragement to push forward to make TaxDrop a reality.

Q. Describe the features you have in TaxDrop's app. Are you planning on implementing new features in the future?
A. TaxDrop is rolling out new features within the existing iOS app and the first user web portal to make tax filing easier than ever. TaxDrop is integrating Plaid API to make 365 days’ worth of transactions more accessible and quicker to share with the CPA. The web portal will work smoothly even for bulkier documents or excel files that clients may want to drop in. As future developments roll out, all will turn the 10 minutes it currently takes to get through tax season even faster. 

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Danny Straus 2 years ago Member's comment

Interesting. How easy would it be for me to launch my own crowdfunding campaign?

Black Widow 2 years ago Member's comment

Is the crowdfunding campaign over?

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment
Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Hi there! The crowdfunding round closed on 11/1, we've successfully raised $70k and TalkMarkets readers helped big time :) I hope you will still join us next tax season! You can find our app on the App Store under "TaxDrop"

Danny Straus 2 years ago Member's comment

Congrats!

Black Widow 2 years ago Member's comment

I'm an Android user, please add a Google Play version soon, thanks.

Carol Klein 2 years ago Member's comment

Looks like a cool idea.

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Thank you for the kind words!

Cannabis Stock Buyer 2 years ago Member's comment

Do you have an Android app also? Or only iOs?

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Right now, we only have an iOS app. But we are building a web portal, ready to use next tax season and Android shortly after :)

Cannabis Stock Buyer 2 years ago Member's comment

Thanks, that explains why I could not find it. BTW, it says you are the co-founder but you never mentioned who your partner is.

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Krishna and John-- you can read more about them on republic.co/taxdrop! :)

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment
Currency Trader 2 years ago Member's comment

I'm in. Since you get the equivalent amount as an app credit, it is a no-brainer.

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Thanks Currency Trader! Our thoughts exactly ;) The round is open until 11:59 PM PT on 10/31 (see republic.co/taxdrop). Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks again for your support!

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment
Barry Hochhauser 2 years ago Member's comment

I've been interested in diversifying my portfolio to include some startup companies. Will take a closer look. Is it possible to review financials?

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Hi Barry Hochhauser! We have filed Form C with the SEC where our financials are attached. You can find them and more info on TaxDrop at republic.co/taxdrop. I must preface that TaxDrop has little activity to date due to our late release last tax season, so many metrics don't accurately reflect the company. However, our business plan forward and marketing efforts for next tax season more completely define our potential with reaching 3000 new users. Between partnering with NYC resident buildings where young professionals live and exposure on life-hack publications such as Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Mashable, we are aiming for a fantastic launch this spring. Happy to discuss if you have additional questions!

Barry Hochhauser 2 years ago Member's comment

Makes sense, thanks.

Michael Molman 2 years ago Contributor's comment

I am very interested to learn more about your services and I am curious to learn more about your business model.

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Hi Michael Molman! You can find more information on our company and business model on republic.co/taxdrop. We are currently crowdfunding and there's 4 days left to support us there! Also happy to answer any specific questions you have if you would like to drop a note

Kurt Benson 2 years ago Member's comment

Alice Cheng, I commend you on your innovation and initial success. But I'm not sold. What really differentiates this product? It sounds like it would be easy to replicate, no?

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Thank you very much! TaxDrop is unique from existing solutions in that we are the first to market a consumer-focused automation solution to tax filing. Other competitors out there (Taxfyle, Visor, etc) are merely marketplaces or prettier portals for connecting with accountants. Because of our team experience and unparalleled know-how, all future developments and innovation roll-outs will always make us the first to market. Any business on the outside could be seemingly easy to replicate, but as all business advice points out, without knowing the purpose of each deliberate step, viability is lost.

Kurt Benson 2 years ago Member's comment

Thanks for the response Alice Cheng. I do think you product sounds promising and perhaps you are right that you don't have direct competitors. But "unparralled know-how?" How many people are on your management team and how many years of combined experience do they have? With all due respect, you yourself only graduated 2 years ago. I'd like to know there are some people with more experience helping to drive the company.

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Hi Kurt! No offense taken, TaxDrop is led by a team of relatively young individuals, such as myself for sure. However, it is this edge that also presents an advantage as our market is focused on individuals like us. Krishna (the other founding members) comes from a family of CPA and tax preparers, John himself was in accounting before switching into web development where he now specializes in encryption and TaxDrop security, and our advisor Andrew Hill is a Harvard/MIT graduate and HBS startup advisor. Thus, not everyone is only 2 years out from college, but I still believe everyone has a fresh take on this outdated system. :) More on the team at republic.co/taxdrop

Kurt Benson 1 year ago Member's comment

Alice Cheng, any updates on your crowdfunding campaign and overall progress?

Dan Jackson 2 years ago Member's comment

What is "Plaid Api?"

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment

Hi Dan! Plaid is a banking company that aggregated all code for major banks like Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, etc and conveniently designed Plaid code so that future apps (like TaxDrop) can then simply use Plaid's code to connect to banks. In other words, Plaid did the "hard work" in putting all banks into one. Big companies from TransferWise to Venmo (PayPal) are powered by Plaid, and TaxDrop will roll out with Plaid as a new feature on the app by the end of the year! You can see Plaid.com to learn more.

If you are interested in supporting TaxDrop, you can invest at republic.co/taxdrop :) Thank you!

Alice Cheng 2 years ago Member's comment