Arena was founded on the belief that those in the arena are worthy of support; that small and mid-size businesses deserve high caliber tech and touch that will enable and empower them to reach their full potential; that the fabric of our communities depends on the ability of their members to contribute and succeed.
Arena is on a mission to empower businesses to achieve their strategic goals by providing active management of business finances and regularly measuring performance against those goals. Named for the renowned Teddy Roosevelt speech given in 1910, Arena is built for the entrepreneur – the man in the arena, the doer of deeds – who dares greatly.
Founded in 2019, Arena’s vision is to simplify financial services and make them accessible to businesses of any size.
Arena’s initial offering was Arena Pay, a bill pay platform that optimizes payments for businesses and pays bills at the right time with the right payment method. The innovative Arena Pay platform allows users to optimize their cash flow with standard payment functions as well as a patented ‘pay with card’ option that enables card payments against any and all payables.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”– Teddy Roosevelt, 1910
Arena then developed the Arena Business Health Assessment, a 100% automated 3-5 minute assessment about financial operations that provides insights to the business owner and partner CFO so that they know where to begin their operational and strategic discussions.
During the pandemic, Arena took the opportunity to serve small businesses across the U.S. in a pro-bono capacity, assessing their need and eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) government-assisted funding and forgiveness so that business owners could focus on their employees and customers. That spawned Arena CFO, fractional CFO services for any business regardless of size.
90% of businesses in the U.S. do not have a CFO; instead, business owners attempt to “wear the finance hat” while also focusing on their customers, products or services, and employees.
- There are more than 32 million small businesses in the U.S.
- 90% of those 32 million do not have a CFO
- A CFO costs on average $175k/year
- Only ~200,000 professionals on LinkedIn identify themselves as a CFO
- 50% of those 32 million fail by their fifth year
- 82% of those 16 million fail due to cash flow related challenges
A lack of CFO support typically results in
- Ad hoc payments & bookkeeping
- Absence of a growth plan and accurate reporting
- Unexpected cash flow issues
Businesses try to solve this gap by weekend work and a patchwork quilt of subscriptions to accounting, payment, and reporting tools. Arena CFO allows businesses the access to a financial expert without hiring one full-time. Our CFOs represent industries of all kinds, and we take on clients at any stage of the business lifecycle to help them reach their full potential. We continue to strengthen and expand our strategic advisors and CFO network nationwide as well as build out our digital toolkit to support our CFOs’ work.
Awards and Accolades
We received grant funding from Google for our support of businesses with PPP government funding, completed BMO Harris Bank and 1871’s WMN•FINtech accelerator program in the summer of 2021, have an ongoing partnership with BMO Harris Bank, and were selected by Capital One in 2022 to participate in their mentorship-style startup Accelerator Program. We were chosen by Finovate 2022 to demo our product on the main event stage, and we have received multiple funding offers to further build out the Arena concept.