Why We’re Adding Citi Ventures to Our Journey of Creating More Value for Small Businesses

A version of this article originally appeared on the We Are HoneyBook Medium blog.

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 you and my dad streamline your businesses—to get rid of the piles and get your 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 you make (for your family, for yourselves and for the creative economy at large), small businesses still face many disadvantages. One major example is the ability to maintain a steady cash flow. It’s hard to plan and grow your 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 you and other creative businesses.

57% of freelancers report experiencing cash flow issues at times during the year and 78% of self-employed creatives worry about making ends meet.

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 your pain points and build solutions with your input to address each one.

We were the first to offer you the ability to send contracts and invoices, seamlessly created, reviewed, signed and paid—completely online. And we made it possible for you to respond instantly to inquiries, increasing your conversion and enabling a level of professionalism parallel to that of big businesses. Just like we’ve brought you the best booking solutions over the years, we’re determined and committed to keep innovating and providing access to services and products to grow your business. Better financial products created specifically for small businesses 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 your unique needs as a small business.

Thank you for allowing us to share in your business journey. Your success is our top priority, and I would love to hear from you. If you have any feedback, please leave me a note in the comments.

Oz Alon

As our founding CEO, Oz is responsible for overseeing all aspects of HoneyBook, from leading all teams toward our vision to recruiting and winning the best talent. Oz works tirelessly to ensure our leadership team is aligned and showcases a culture that becomes even stronger as we scale. Prior to HoneyBook Oz ran a number of small businesses in the fields of real estate, education and entertainment, while working at one of Israel’s top law firms. Prior to this he served as an officer in the most elite intelligence unit of the Israeli military, and led a unit of 50 soldiers and officers. Oz received Master of Laws and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees and graduated with honors from IDC Herzliya in Israel.

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