Why We’re Adding Citi Ventures to Our Journey of Creating More Value for Small Businesses
The first time I understood what it meant to be a small business owner, I was riding shotgun in my dad’s car as a kid. I flipped the sun visor down to block the light in my eyes, and a pile of paper invoices and checks came showering down. It was one of his many “piles” — from business loans to outstanding invoices — that took up space not just in his car, but also in his mind. The piles that made up his financial situation were responsible for his mood at any given time. He’d be happy one day and stressed the next.
That’s what I think about today as we announce our $28 million funding news in partnership with Citi Ventures, who share our vision and passion to serve small businesses. (In fact, we were often so in tune that we were completing each other’s sentences in meetings.) My wife Naama and I started HoneyBook to help small business owners like my dad streamline their business — to get rid of the piles and get their sanity back. And that’s more possible today than ever before. But there’s still work to be done.
For all of the impact that small businesses make (for their family, for themselves and for the creative economy at large), they still face many disadvantages. One major example is an entrepreneur’s ability to maintain a steady cash flow. It’s hard to plan and grow a business without it. And without regular semi-monthly pay stubs, it’s hard to get a loan from a bank.
I saw it when my dad owned his business. I saw it when Naama and I ran our businesses (back when she did freelance web design and I owned a bar). And I see it when talking to our members and other creative businesses.
This is where HoneyBook comes in. We’re in a position to disrupt that narrative because we have a unique advantage: we’ve worked with thousands of small businesses over the years to understand their pain points and build solutions with their input to address each one.
We were the first to offer our members the ability to send contracts and invoices, seamlessly created, reviewed, signed and paid — completely online. And we made it possible to respond instantly to inquiries, increasing their conversion and enabling a level of professionalism parallel to that of big businesses. Just like we’ve brought creative entrepreneurs the best booking solutions over the years, we’re determined and committed to keep innovating and providing access to services and products to grow their businesses. Better financial products created specifically for creative entrepreneurs are just one of the ways we plan to do so.
How do I know it’s possible?
HoneyBook members have booked more than $1B in business on our platform. Our new members grew 150% in 2018 compared to 2017. And our members created more than one million projects on the platform in 2018. For me, this all points to the fact that small business owners put their livelihoods and trust in us. A fact that I and the HoneyBook team take very seriously. And it’s what fuels all of us to continue innovating, providing the best solutions to meet small businesses’ unique needs.
We’re tremendously lucky to have members who allow us to share in their business journey. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.