Business banking in the corona crisis: How the startup Penta supports other start-ups

The Fintech Penta only recently received an 18.5 million investment, now the startup wants to offer its customers even more – and also be there for them during the corona crisis.

What does an açaí bowl have to do with business banking? Well, sometimes start-up ideas find their own way. This is also the case with Jessica Holzbach and Penta. Penta is a fintech startup that specializes in providing digital company accounts for small and medium-sized companies. For companies, banking and bookkeeping should be as simple as possible and, like other neo-banks, function according to the “one click” principle.

Before that came about, açaí bowls were actually needed first. Because they were the basis of Holzbach’s first founding idea. Together with two Canadians, she wanted to set up a startup in Lisbon that would offer healthy breakfast bowls. Because the first investors were in Germany, the three women also wanted to register their business there.

Open a business account from abroad – impossible

Decided, googled and determined: A business account is one of the first important steps in starting a business. Holzbach, who had their house bank in Germany, wanted to initiate the account opening. However, the founders had to realize: At the time, it wasn’t as easy as the trio had imagined opening an account from abroad. All three had to fly to Germany. Flights, accommodation – these are painful costs for a young startup. In addition, the founders not only had to travel to Germany, they couldn’t just open the account in Holzbach’s usual bank branch. They had to go to Frankfurt specially, the small bank in the village couldn’t handle the Canadian citizenship of the two co-founders.

The founders found the account opening process expensive and inefficient. Holzbach was stunned that it couldn’t be easier. When the Açaí Bowl startup finally came to nothing, she decided to tackle the banking problem. Holzbach, who is now Penta’s Chief Customer Officer, was there, but not alone. There are five people behind the Berlin fintech, which now serves over 17,000 business customers.

How did the 5 come together?

“Two of the founders are related, the others knew each other from university – and I was just the coincidence,” says Holzbach, explaining how the founding team came into being. When the co-founder joined the Penta team, the name already existed and a very simple landing page. Because the founders shared a vision, Holzbach joined Penta. The team thought: “Okay, if we have the same idea, we’ll try it together.” And since the day of the first meeting, the founders have never spent a day without each other.

Sounds very harmonious, and it probably was. Because all five had a different background and all had different skills, the division of tasks was then very easy. The decisions in the company could be made particularly quickly.

This is still the case today with fintech for business accounts. Holzbach explains the work of the now more than ninety-strong team: “It was important to us to build up a company with small, agile teams so that we don’t grow into a heavy tanker that only makes slow progress. Instead, we have created small speed boats that can quickly put ideas into practice. ”With success. In the meantime, Penta no longer “only” offers a digital account solution for companies. Instead, the Berlin startup managed to expand its portfolio fairly quickly. The mission always remained: The five founders want to make the life of other founders as easy as possible.

So what exactly does Penta offer?

A cooperation with Sumup makes it possible, for example, to provide companies with a simple cashless payment option. A cooperation with Iwoca enables Penta to offer its own corporate loans. Sample documents, checklists and even targeted advice on setting up a company complete the portfolio of banking service providers. The commitment to all-round service should not end there.

The corona crisis hits startups in particular

The corona crisis is currently troubling many startups. Orders suddenly disappear and expenses are no longer financed. Not to mention the conversion of work processes to home office and co. Penta herself was lucky. The fintech was able to complete the current financing round before the situation around the corona pandemic in Germany worsened. Penta was able to collect 18.5 million euros , financially the startup for business banking is on the safe side for the time being. The virus is still a concern of Penta’s founders.

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