Bench raises $72.5M and relaunches product offering
The fintech will now offer banking, cards, payroll and other services in a bid to provide complete, centralized services for SMBs.
Bench, a Vancouver-based fintech and online bookkeeping service for small business, announced that it raised $72.5 million ($60 million USD) in Series C financing led by Contour Venture Partners, with support from Altos Ventures, iNovia Capital, and BMO T&I, and new investors including Sage and Shopify.
Why it matters: As part of the raise, Bench announced a major relaunch of its product offering, which will see the fintech now offer banking, cards, payroll and other services. “We’re here to make a profound difference in the quality of life of one million business owners. We’ve re-imagined Bench from the ground up to do that, and our new funding will allow us to continue reinforcing our product and service vision,” said Ian Crosby, the CEO and co-founder of Bench, in a statement.
Details: Bench automates accounting services for small businesses by connecting its clients with a team of professional bookkeepers. The company was founded in 2013 and has previously raised nearly $60 million CAD.
Bench's new product will offer a financial toolkit for small businesses in the United States, the company's primary market. There’s Bench Core, which includes a business bank account and debit card, provided in partnership with LendingClub and Stripe. Another offering, Bench Flex, is tailored to support businesses with existing bank accounts and service providers. Both Core and Flex include Bench's traditional bookkeeping, tax preparation, tax filing and tax advisory services.
Zoom out: This launch, along with Bench’s integration with Shopify, Stripe, Freshbooks, Sage, LendingClub, and Gusto, are indicative of the trend towards a more centralized, tailored and streamlined financial experience for business. The move also puts Bench in direct competition with other startups seeking to provide all-in-one financial service solutions, like Brex and Pleo.
Comeback kids: Bench struggled from a drop in sales at the start of the pandemic, which forced the company to restructure and lay off 10 percent of its workforce. But it saw its fortunes lifted as it pivoted to support businesses in the US apply for funding through the US Paycheck Protection Program. “Bench became a leading information source as visits to its website jumped tenfold to one million in April from the previous month. Many visitors became clients,” according to a report in the Globe & Mail.
Shopify says: “At Shopify, we're always looking for ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses,” said Bram Sugarman, Director of Corporate Development and Strategic Initiatives with Shopify. “That's why we're thrilled to participate in Bench's recent round of funding, which will help them provide professional bookkeeping to even more entrepreneurs so that they can focus on growing and serving their customers.”
By the numbers: Bench is nine years old, has scaled to over 650 employees and serves 11,000 business owners. The company has raised well over $100 million to date.
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