Edison Partners is to exit portfolio company Bento for Business, which has been acquired by US Bank (NYSE: USB). Upon closing, the transaction will deliver a strong cash return and 60 per cent IRR.
Chicago-based Bento for Business helps small and mid-sized businesses regain control of monthly expenses and improve cash flow with its card-based digital spend management platform. Since the company’s inception, small businesses have spent close to USD800 million using the Bento for Business platform. Bento has enjoyed consistent, capital-efficient growth since Edison Partners’ investment and operating performance was the strongest to date over the last 12 months.
“Six years ago, Bento founder Farhan Ahmed had the vision for a next-generation fintech company that would create unique value for the heart of the American economy—small businesses,” says Guido Schulz, CEO, Bento for Business. “Through an incredibly intuitive product addressing the core cash flow and operational problems faced by small businesses, and with Edison Partner’s capital and guidance, we’ve become that company. Becoming a part of U.S. Bank is validation of not only our market differentiation, but also the opportunity ahead.”
Edison General Partners Kelly Ford and Michael Kopelman partnered with Bento Founder Farhan Ahmed in 2018 to lead the company’s growth round. Since then, Bento has grown its customer base by more than 3x and customer spend by more than 8x.
“Bento achieved something that not many, if any, in the SMB fintech space have, and that is capital-efficient growth. The company stood steadfast on a differentiated value proposition around expense controls for small businesses, and resisted adding commoditised ‘me too’ features offered by competitors,” says Kelly Ford, General Partner at Edison Partners and member Bento’s board of directors. “Guido built on this foundation, levelling up sales and marketing and moving upmarket with solutions for mid-sized businesses. We’re proud of and grateful to Guido, Farhan and team for being great partners in delivering this outcome.”
Bento for Business marks Edison Partners’ fourth acquisition by a blue-chip financial services company in just over a year, others include Clearpool to BMO Financial Group (NYSE,TSX: BMO), Scivantage to Refinitiv, and Solovis to Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ). This transaction is Edison’s twelfth exit in the last 12 months, notably: Jornaya to Verisk, PandoLogic to Veritone, Terminus to Great Hill Partners, Trialscope to Informa, and Triplelift to Vista Equity Partners.
Recognized by LendIt Fintech as Fintech Equity Investor of the Year, Edison Partners has financed and guided more than 50 private fintech market leaders. The firm’s current active portfolio includes: Bipsync, ComplySci, Fund That Flip, GAN Integrity, Giant Oak, gohenry, Houwzer, MoneyLion, Nuula, Yieldstreet, and Zelis.