Seattle-based Remitly, an online international money transfer company, is expanding to Spokane, with plans for a second Washington office in the Bennett Block building.
Remitly, which serves more than 2 million customers, allows people to send and receive money worldwide via smartphone.
The startup cited Spokane’s strong job market, workforce, low cost of operations and livability as reasons for expanding its operations to the region.
Remitly co-founder and chief operating officer Josh Hug also has personal ties to Spokane as a Whitworth University graduate.
“Expanding to Spokane was an easy decision to make and we’re thrilled to be part of the city’s growth,” Hug said in a statement. “Seeing the forward-thinking economic development plan and diverse pool of talent has energized everyone at Remitly about opening an office there. We look forward to joining in Spokane’s engineering community, learn from others and share our expertise.”
Remitly intends to hire full-stack junior and senior software developers for its Spokane location at 530 W. Main Ave., which will be primarily a product and engineering office. The company did not disclose how many employees it expects to hire for the office.
The company also said it plans to engage with diverse talent from area universities through internship programs and hackathons, events during which people work together to create solutions to problems in a short, fixed period of time.
Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Alisha Benson said it’s exciting to see companies like Remitly expanding to Spokane and creating internship programs that help retain talent in the region.
She said promoting Spokane’s livability, affordability and talent pool is a collective effort among city officials and organizations to put the region on the map.
“We’re seeing excellent growth in the startup ecosystem in Spokane,” she said. “Adding to that growing ecosystem is huge as we continue to be a place to grow ideas and innovate.”
Remitly CEO Matt Oppenheimer co-founded the company in 2011 after living in Kenya and experiencing difficulty with sending money across borders. The process was expensive, costing 8% to 10% of the total transfer to send money. Oppenheimer and Hug launched the company to make digital money transfers easier, faster and more affordable than cash-based brick-and-mortar models.
The company, which has facilitated more than $6 billion in money transfers annually, has offices in London, Dublin, Manila and Nicaragua, in addition to its Seattle headquarters.
Remitly has raised more than $311 million in equity to date, placing its valuation at more than $1 billion, according to Geekwire, a technology news website.
The company has more than 1,000 employees and is backed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp., Generation Investment Management, Trilogy Equity Partners and Bezos Expeditions, among others.
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