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Two Belgraders created a digital bank for Germany companies which raised 7 million euros in Series A funding
Nov 10, 2018
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Berlin-Belgrade fintech startup Penta, created in May 2016, was launched by two Belgraders, Lav Odorović and Luka Ivićević. In their entrepreneurial endeavor, they started with the idea of building a digital bank intended for small and medium businesses and startups, tailored to meet the needs that typical banks weren’t able to provide.

So far, they have acquired more than a thousand clients and have received €10 million in investments, of which the latest investment amounting to €7 million was received a few days ago.  

The startup makes the process of opening an account straightforward and provides the essential tools to simplify this process. Some of these aspects include multi-card support, where business owners can issue multiple cards, where each card is linked to a business’ Penta account but can have custom rules and permissions per card/employee, in terms of how much money can be spent and where.  

It will also allow for businesses to set up automatic payments made on a specific date each month. And, as an added security feature, businesses will be able to freeze, unfreeze and change employees’ PINs.  

Penta’s founder and CEO, Lav Odorović, is a serial entrepreneur who had an e-commerce startup in Belgrade before leaving for Germany, and the problem that they presently solve for their clients is one he was faced with himself. "Penta is a type of bank that us entrepreneurs never had. It understands the client's problems and solves them in real time. In practice, this means companies can open a bank account online without any trouble, instead of waiting for 2-6 weeks and making 1-4 trips to the branch in person. Also, our UX is more similar to Airbnb and Uber than to the legacy applications from the end of the past century that some banks in Europe still continue to favor. Lastly and most importantly, our customers save a lot of money and time, so they can concentrate more on their business, and less on banking. " Business owners can apply for a Penta account online in only 15 minutes, and it gets activated in simply 48 hours.  

On the idea of ​​launching a "startup bank", the support of his co-founder Luka Ivićević, who is in charge of Penta’s further business growth, was indispensable. "The second founder, otherwise my cousin Luka, who is seven years younger than me, had a crazy idea of ​​creating a bank. Although it seemed impossible at the time, I did not want to discourage him, so we started working on the project. Luka found solutions to all the problems we had and one thing led to another, and not before long we were accepted to the best fintech accelerator in the world (Startupbootcamp Fintech London). Then it became clear to us that we actually would do it and that my corporate career was over. "  

They officially launched their platform in December last year, and since then have acquired thousands of customers. The current focus is on the German market, which is known for the huge number of small and medium-sized enterprises that account for the main chunk of Germany’s economy. Still, it won’t be long before they expand to other markets. "From day one, Penta was conceived as a pan European bank. Expansion throughout the EU is expected by the end of next year."  

They say they don’t spend much on marketing because most of their clients come through personal recommendations. The Penta team currently has 40 members, split between Berlin and Belgrade, and the money from the investment will, in addition to further development of the product itself, be primarily used for the expansion of the team in Serbia.

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