Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Bento Technologies, a fintech startup that provides payment and expense management services to small businesses. Bento, which is known as Bento for Business, is based in Chicago and San Francisco. “Fintech” is shorthand for “financial technology”.
“Business owners work hard every day to turn their passion into a business. Our goal is to make money management easier for them so they can spend less time on administrative tasks, and more time on doing what they love – serving their customers,” said Tim Welsh, vice-chair of Consumer and Business Banking at U.S. Bank, in a statement. “This is why Bento Technologies is a great fit for U.S. Bank.”.
Bento’s website describes its service as a “spend management platform” and says it offers a “credit card alternative.” A Bento-issued card can be swiped just like a debit or credit card.
As currently set up, Bento offers a free 60-day trial to business owners who are interested in testing out the service and charges monthly fees thereafter. Using Bento, a business owner could issue Bento cards – effectively a corporate credit card – to all of its employees but can customize each one with spending limits and other controls.
Bento then allows business owners or financial managers to track business spending in real-time and simplifies the process of tracking expenditure patterns. Bento says its apps and cards can work smoothly with any accounting software system.
According to Crunchbase, a website that tracks data on venture capital investments, Bento has previously raised $18.5 million in financing.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Farhan Ahmad, founder of Bento Technologies, in a statement. “In 2014, Bento pioneered the concept of smart corporate cards and automated spend management for small businesses. I’m proud to say that we have saved our customers millions of dollars since then. We are now very excited to join U.S. Bank in order to accelerate our vision of creating a one-stop financial operating platform to help small businesses that serve communities across the country”.
Banking is in the midst of an ongoing transition into the digital world. U.S. Bank previously acquired a talech, a Silicon Valley-based fintech company, in 2019.
“What we’re trying to be able to do is to work as seamlessly with their software systems as we possibly can so that it feels like banking is not a separate activity for them, but that it’s actually part of the day-to-day running of the business,” Welsh recently told Twin Cities Business of the bank’s digitization efforts.
The purchase agreement was signed on August 11. The deal is expected to close in September. U.S. Bank did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.