German challenger Penta comes out of private beta

German challenger Penta comes out of private beta

German challenger bank Penta is coming out of private beta and officially opening its small business banking account to startups on its home territory.

With a mission to make business banking as easy as using Slack or Trello, Penta has been quietly trialing its service - a white-labelled account provided by local banking-as-a-service platform solarisBank - with a number of Berlin-based businesses. With the official launch, Penta will begin onboarding the 3000 businesses which have joined the firm's waitlist.

Penta is funded by a number of senior banking executives from the UK and Germany, such as Richard Davies formerly the head of business banking and digital propositions globally at HSBC.

CEO and co-founder Lav Odorovic says the company started out of the founding team’s frustration with business banking, the high fees, as well as the bureaucracy and lack of transparency that today’s legacy banks offer.

"Banks are stuck in the 20th century because of their outdated tech and bureaucracy — not to mention the high-fees," he says. "We believe that banking should be easy, it should be completely online and it should give startups access to the banking products and services they need to scale quicker, to save more time and money.”

Penta is distinguishing itself from local competitors in Germany such as N26 and BBVA-owned Holvi, which have tailored their services to sole traders and the freelance community, by focusing its account offering on startups with 2-30 employees.

“Startups in Germany with 2-30 employees have been neglected by fintech and the banking industry” says Odorovic. “We’re trying to change this by helping founders open an account online quickly while offering them the tools they need to scale quicker, save more time and money.”

The company has set a target of recruiting over 10,000 businesses by the end of 2018.

New Penta customers will initially be offered a fee-free bank account and the multiple debit cards for team members. The long term vision is to offer an App Store of third party fintech services and business apps.

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