This startup gives small businesses more control over company cards

March 21, 2017

Small expenses can get out of hand quickly, and that’s even more true for business expenses. But many small businesses can’t afford the time to closely track employee expenses for errant charges to the company card.

Bento for Business helps stop those charges before they happen with an integrated system of smart software and individual, prepaid cards. Administrators can set up rules about where and when the cards are used, enforce daily or monthly limits, and quickly get an overview of the company’s spending.

“The standard business card isn’t meant for small businesses,” said Bento CEO Farhan Ahmad. “About 33 percent of all businesses in the U.S. that have declared bankruptcy have done so because of misuse of funds. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's actually accidental and it happens to all of us. ... We eliminate these issues.”

Bento is also able to track the paperwork that once required much manual labor. One Bento customer has been saving as much as $15,000 per month by eliminating the hours of paperwork that their previous system required, according to Ahmad. Integrations with popular accounting software like Quickbooks smooth the process even further.

While Bento is based in San Francisco, the company’s Chicago office is helping to drive innovation. One of the latest additions to the office, Chief Revenue Officer Lou Friedmann, sees himself as the company cheerleader. He’s building an acquisition pipeline, hiring customer support, marketing and inside sales staff to gain new customers.

“The opportunity is an ocean,” Friedmann said. “Small businesses are a bedrock of our economy and they need tools like Bento.”

He’s also building out a marketing tech stack here, with analysts, developers and designers working to help them ease the customer onboarding process.

Both Friedmann and Ahmad see Chicago as an obvious hub for the future of their company. Not only are they excited about the talent in Chicago, but they also feel that their business fits into the city's larger tech scene.

“I feel in many ways we service the regular business owner, and Chicago has empathy for that kind of business,” Ahmad said.

Friedmann added: “Chicago is a focus on our future."

Image via Bento for Business

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