Jessica Holzbach,

Co-Founder and CCO of Penta


A biography without some breaks and some ups and downs? It’s not just unrealistic, but also without life lessons - and quite boring.


Jessica Holzbach’s vita is far from being that. Born and raised close to Germany's number one financial city, Frankfurt, she already dreamed as a child of building her own company or to become a fashion designer - or the first female pope, just because she found it unfair that women can’t attain that position.


Jesscia started her career by studying General Management and Business Law at the EBS Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, completed with a bachelor’s degree before completing her CEMS Master and pursuing her PhD at the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management. During the time of her bachelor studies, Jessica completed her first internship in a bank in 2010 - and was taken aback on how slow and bureaucratic things were behind the scenes.


Before and during her Masters, she studied abroad in Portugal and Brazil, as well as worked as a business consultant for BearingPoint, a multinational management and technology consulting firm focusing on the financial services industry and digitisation of customer related processes.


In addition to all of her exciting study opportunities, Jessica also met her future Penta co-founders during her first entrepreneurial adventure: IAWIE, short for “I Am What I Eat”, was a culinary start-up designed to deliver freshly made food to offices. In 2016, the three of them wanted to start their business from Lisbon and quickly discovered  the biggest problem: opening a business bank account.


“I didn’t expect it to be a problem at all, but after several calls with my contact person from my home bank, it turned out to be the most difficult one. To open an account, we would have not only needed to present a lot of paperwork, but also to make an appointment in the bank branch. Given that my co-founders were from Canada, it would have been highly time- and cost consuming. In the end, my bank advisor couldn't verify the Canadian passport, so we already failed miserably on this first step of the entrepreneurship journey”  


In the end, her dream of building a food-startup didn’t come true, but her impression of the banking experience stayed. So, when Jessica met her Co-Founders of Penta at a very early stage of the fintech, she immediately got the idea of fast and easy business banking, completely online and with the ability to open an account in only a few minutes. Jessica describes it like this: “The idea of Penta was completely in line with my belief and vision of the future for banking. Additionally, it was a perfect fit with the other founders. Everyone brought in different expertise, and all decision making was fast and decentralised.”


Only 11 months after launching, Penta now has almost 6000 customers in Germany, and is getting ready for its roll-out across Europe, with finleap as a partner by their side. Jessica is not only part of the Co-Founder Team, she is also serves as the Chief Customer Officer part of the management.


Jessica has a clear vision when it comes to Penta: “Besides the normal challenges that every fast growing startup faces I think it will be crucial to focus on the right things and goals. While some fintechs have the strategy to grow at any price, I believe in a more sustainable approach: Our goal is to build a banking product, which our customers love and that makes their life as business owners easier.”


Throughout her own career, Jessica also followed some very clear advise: “The most important thing is to have trust in yourself and in your capabilities to grow. Nobody knows the solution to each and every problem, but trusting that you will figure it out along the way helps you to actually get there. By doing that, you can achieve whatever you have in mind - like leading one of the fastest growing SME startups in Germany.”

If you would like to find out more about Jessica and her work at Penta click here

Date of publication: Mai 2019