A great time to be an early stage in Minneapolis: How the rapidly growing NYC startup DailyPay decided to bring its sister office to the Twin Cities
What started as a hankering for Domino’s delivery turned into digging deeper into the pay cycle for Jason Lee, founder and CEO of fintech startup DailyPay. Formerly the managing director of the structured equity group at Goldman Sachs, Lee found out that the reason Domino’s wasn’t available via third-party delivery app Seamless that fateful night was due to a cycle of pay that hurt restaurant employees — so much so, that Domino’s had decided not to participate.
Setting out to change this, Lee ended up creating DailyPay: a company that allows employees to access their wages as soon as they’ve earned them. “He thought, ‘Why are we still struggling with this with all of the technology that we have at this time?’” says Mariele Marki, talent and brand manager at the startup.
Officially founded in 2015, NYC-based DailyPay’s mission is to give people their first steps toward financial security. By partnering with employers and allowing employees to access their earned wages ahead of payday, they can pay their bills on time, avoid late fees and hopefully be less stressed. “What we’re doing isn’t just about time, it’s also something that’s very impactful,” says Marki.
The company has grown rapidly over the past few years, with 142 employees, 500,000 eligible users, and 115 active partner employers. In fact, earlier this year they opened a sister office — right here in Minneapolis.
With a focus on payment operations, this office is already underway with 12 employees in a coworking space downtown. Hiring completely locally, DailyPay hopes to open a brick and mortar location by the end of the year, bringing a total of 100 jobs to the area.
“Minneapolis has quickly become one of the country’s top cities for entrepreneurship and startups,” says Preeti Krishnan, chief of staff for the fintech startup.
Adding to the company’s reasoning on location, Krishnan noted a very value and mission-driven environment among Twin Cities startups. “The Minneapolis startup community is one we felt we’d really thrive in. It’s very consistent with our culture,” she says.
She also mentioned wanting to be in a central location for their Midwest partners — think BiteSquad, SMR Automotive, Vera Bradley — and being impressed with the emerging workforce in Minneapolis. “[We’re] really impressed with the talent pool that calls the Midwest home, including best in class university programs.”
Arguably the biggest factor behind DailyPay’s move to Minneapolis is Twin Cities Startup Week itself. After hearing about TCSW during a branding trip, Marki mentioned thinking that being a part of it “made all the sense in the world.”
“Startup Week really represents to us the symbiotic value that Minneapolis can add to our business and that we can add to Minneapolis startup culture,” says Krishnan. Having “grown up” in the startup world in NYC, DailyPay has seen many of the changes that come along with a growing company.
“We see Startup Week as a way to work with other companies that may be in early stages, figuring out growth priorities, potentially opening a second office themselves at some point — as well as a way to learn from the other hard-hitting peers that will be in attendance,” she says.
Another thing that Krishnan mentions was “palpable” was the number of resources and time that both the city of Minneapolis and private organizations are putting into growing the startup ecosystem. This is something that maintains startups’ progress and enables them to thrive in the environment that the city has created, she adds.
“Minneapolis has such an open, welcoming culture that isn’t exclusionary to new players,” says Krishnan. “[The city] really encourages learning from and growing with peer companies. Observing the startup ecosystem made us feel like we could be at home.”
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