This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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What was Snaptax? How did it help file your taxes? What happened to Snaptax today?
The Story behind Snaptax
In 2009, a startup wanted to automate W-2 form processing to streamline individual taxes. Their early users had problems had difficulty scanning in their tax forms, so instead the startup decided to switch to cell phone cameras as a way to capture W-2 forms. But the customers asked for something even more ambitious – could they complete their entire tax return on the phone?
This was a tall order. Tax forms can get super complex and annoying to deal with.
Instead of building a complete product and shipping a giant package, the startup decided to release a barebones version. It only processed the simple 1040EZ tax return, and it only worked for California. It was barebones in features, but enough to prove that people wanted the app. It launched as SnapTax in 2011 to great success.
So who was behind SnapTax? Surprise! It was an internal project at Intuit, a giant public company that makes finance tools like Quicken and Turbotax.
Where is Snaptax now? It’s been integrated into the main TurboTax mobile app.
A Seven-Thousand-Person Lean Startup
Intuit was founded by Scott Cook in 1983, and they dominated the finance and tax prep software industries.
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