With the largest funding round to date, ZenBusiness transforms its suite of offerings, products, and tools to empower entrepreneurs to turn their dreams of business ownership into reality
ZenBusiness, which provides a one-stop-shop for budding entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their own successful micro businesses, today announced the close of a $55 million Series B funding round. The round, led by global venture fund Cathay Innovation, will enable ZenBusiness to invest in its customers by offering an expanded suite of world-class services and an innovative all-inclusive digital platform that makes creating, building and running a business simple.
"ZenBusiness is revolutionizing entrepreneurship, the lifeblood of the economy and job creation, as the new ‘operating system’ for micro businesses that allows aspirers to become business owners," said Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation. "As a worldwide investment firm, we pride ourselves in backing innovative and impactful companies in every corner of the globe. During this critical time of economic uncertainty, the ZenBusiness platform is uniting a fragmented market for SMB solutions and will be a core enabler of a global movement by making starting, running and growing a business more accessible for everyone."
Other participants in the Series B round, which included $55 million in equity, were GreatPoint Ventures, Breyer Capital, and Omega Venture Partners. Existing investors who took part include Greycroft (led Series A), Lerer Hippeau Ventures (led Series Seed), Interlock Partners, Adam Zeplain’s mark vc, and ATX Venture Partners.
"What the ZenBusiness team is doing is a real game changer not just for their customer base but also for our country. By creating a centralized place for micro businesses to form, learn, connect, grow and thrive, ZenBusiness is playing a key role to help ensure that the future for aspiring entrepreneurs is bright," said Jim Breyer, Founder of Breyer Capital and Facebook’s first institutional investor. "We are proud to support ZenBusiness as the company revolutionizes the future of small business, diversifies our economy, and creates a path for more people to turn their dreams into a reality."
Building the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
The funding fuels ZenBusiness’ transformation into a one-stop digital platform for business success and follows the July acquisition of fintech platform Joust, which will launch as ZenBusiness Money later this year. ZenBusiness Money will be a simple, all-inclusive toolkit featuring invoicing and payments solutions, and merchant services. Other offerings of ZenBusiness’ comprehensive solution include services for business formation, compliance, accounting, domain name registration and website development. Since 2018, more than 80,000 micro businesses have launched using the ZenBusiness platform, and the company has a mission to deliver the country’s tens of millions of micro business entrepreneurs with the simplest and most convenient way to start, run and grow their businesses.
According to a September 2020 study from Upwork, two million Americans have started freelancing in the past 12 months due to the pandemic, with 60% reporting that there is no amount of money that would convince them to take a traditional job again.
"Since the pandemic, we have experienced a 100% increase in growth and seen first-hand incredible resilience and grit among Americans seeking to make their mark as business owners," said Ross Buhrdorf, CEO & Co-Founder of ZenBusiness. "We are proud to play a vital role to help micro businesses, who make up a majority of U.S. businesses, on their path to financial success and economic mobility. We are all in to help our customers -- 87% of whom are first time business owners -- make the transition from just a side hustle to full-time entrepreneurship and focus on turning their business dreams into a reality."
Creating a Blueprint for Business Growth
Using ZenBusiness’ customer-first culture and its leadership team with a decades-long track record of launching and growing new businesses, the company is also announcing ZenBusinessU, which will roll out in 2021. With ZenBusinessU, micro businesses will have access to a tailored curriculum, a community of experts and peers, and interactive seminars addressing specific business needs and key learnings to create a blueprint for growth, including:
- Having a website presence enables businesses to make more revenue in their first year. ZenBusiness customers who created a website after signing up are earning $15,000 more than those that don’t yet have a website.
- When starting out, use 100% of your time, energy and funds to find and know your customer. From getting your business listed on the local online directories to optimizing your search results, discovering your customer and understanding their purchase journey is critical for surviving your first year.
- While having a competitive price can get you in the door, the real clincher is providing greater value and more services. Simply put, do more for your customers than you’re asked or expected. ZenBusiness has been able to grow by 100% by giving customers more than just a LLC formation service by offering ongoing products and services to keep their business growing steadily and running smoothly.
ZenBusiness, a Public Benefit Corporation, is a one-stop digital platform with the mission to make starting, running and growing a new business simple and accessible. Empowering the new generation of entrepreneurs, ZenBusiness provides innovative technology and world-class educational resources to support millions of micro businesses on their journey to success -- all at an affordable and clear price. By giving small businesses what they need -- worry-free services, frontline support and an all-inclusive platform -- ZenBusiness makes taking the leap towards building a better life as simple as possible, allowing business owners to achieve a state of zen. Founded in 2017, ZenBusiness is based in Austin, Texas. Visit www.ZenBusiness.com and follow @zenbusinessPBC for more information.
About Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital, investing in startups at the center of digital revolution across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Its global platform unifies technology investment across continents, investors, entrepreneurs and leading corporations to accelerate startup growth with access to new markets, invaluable industry knowledge and introductions to potential partners from the start. As a multistage fund with over $1.5 billion assets under management and offices across San Francisco, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs and startups positively impacting the world through technology. To learn more, please visit www.cathayinnovation.com or follow us on Twitter @Cathayinnov.
About Breyer Capital
Breyer Capital is a premier global venture capital and private equity investor focused on catalyzing high-impact entrepreneurs in the US and China. Founded by legendary investor Jim Breyer in 2006, Breyer Capital makes long-term, idea-driven strategic investments in artificial intelligence, digital health, data analytics, social media, and financial technologies. The firm prides itself on maintaining an openness to experimentation that can lead to long-term breakthrough performance and partnering with founders and teams who are passionate about building transformative companies anchored in technology. For more information, please visit http://www.breyercapital.com.
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