When there’s a “tidal wave” of new entrepreneurs out there, being the place where they can go to launch, run and grow a business is a great position to be in.
ZenBusiness has been there since 2017, building a platform that provides small businesses with digital tools, FinTech, educational resources and customer support. On Nov. 9, 2021, the company announced the close of a $200 million Series C funding round that valued it at $1.7 billion.
“We’re part of this, what I call a ‘tidal wave’ — and I’m not prone to hyperbole, so I don’t think it’s hyperbolic — this tidal wave of more and more people going out on their own, you know, the Great Resignation,” Ross Buhrdorf, the company’s founder and CEO, told PYMNTS.
Enabling Entrepreneurs to Pursue Their Business
When COVID-19 started and the Great Resignation followed, Buhrdorf and others at ZenBusiness wondered if the trend towards entrepreneurship was temporary — but now, he says they’ve seen that this “black swan” event has changed the world permanently.
“As our customers and our customer surveys say, we handle all the ‘ucky’ paperwork and ‘ucky’ back-end stuff so that they can go off and pursue their business and drive revenue,” Buhrdorf said.
Buhrdorf had seen the trend coming, with the growth of freelancing and the gig economy, and noted that it was accelerated by the effects of the pandemic. Now, one of the biggest challenges for large firms is keeping employees.
“These younger folks, some of them have two jobs,” Buhrdorf said. “If you have your own business, you can work three jobs, you can work four jobs, you can control your own time and the money you make. So, I think the pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already out there.”
Helping Workers Take a Leap of Faith
As a 35-year veteran of multiple successful stock market debuts, Buhrdorf is familiar with the journey of the entrepreneur — and all the stresses that come with it.
“It is a personal journey, and it starts with, ‘Am I going to take this brave leap of faith and trust in myself to start a business?’ and they need all the help they can get,” Buhrdorf said.
He added that ZenBusiness recently surveyed its customers, asking why they took this brave leap into entrepreneurship. The top three answers: they wanted to change their lives, make more money and change the world.
“So, you know, this is a very aspirational and personal journey for a lot of these people,” Buhrdorf said.
Helping Manage Time and Cash
The company also asked its customers if they believe ZenBusiness can help them with that, and 89.9% said yes.
“We are absolutely committed,” Buhrdorf said. “We’re a Benefits Corp.; our mission is to help folks take this bold leap into entrepreneurship and be there to support them as their trusted partner along the way.”
Financial services and payments are a big part of making that journey successful, so ZenBusiness offers merchant-account, payment, accounting, tax and other solutions on a single platform. The company is also looking at adding lending products as well to help with cash flow.
Buhrdorf noted that these services help entrepreneurs with their two most important currencies: time and cash.
“The way we change people’s lives with our product, by allowing them to be their own bosses and taking some of that fear and headache and knowing that they have us for support — to me, if that’s as far as this company gets, I’m fine with that,” Buhrdorf said. “I think the fact that we’re doing that, the sky’s the limit for us and we’re very excited — as our investors are — about where we’re headed.”