Editor’s note: Startland News selected the top Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2018’s companies. To view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch, click here.
Few startups care to deal in a market that has historically been static.
But PayIt, a Kansas City-based government tech startup, gladly tackles the daunting task of simplifying government-citizen interaction, said John Thomson, CEO and founder.
Since its founding in 2013, the financial tech firm has revolutionized the way constituents do business with their governments. By delivering software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions via the cloud, PayIt offers city, county and state government agencies a platform for constituents to create a profile and simplify payments by interacting with a chatbot.
“Everything we’re doing and the way we do it is just so unique and welcomed by the market,” Thomson said. “It’s why we’re growing so fast. We’re really pioneering reimagination of citizen self-service.”
Because most startups have historically shied away from contracting with government agencies, the market as a whole is behind, he said. Therein lies the gap that PayIt is rapidly filling.
“There’s a lot of demand for what we’re delivering into the market,” Thomson said.
So much demand that PayIt grew its revenue by 10 times year over year and added 10 more employees. The startup, which has raised about $8 million in capital, is sinking more efforts into research and development for future growth.
The tech world is certainly noticing. PayIt was recognized as a top 100 government tech firm and won a national pitch competition at the United States Conference of Mayors. The company was also named a finalist for Amazon’s City on a Cloud competition.
“We’ve been winning more contracts with cities, counties and states across the country, so a lot of growth there, and then just ramping up the pace of innovation for our clients — more services through the technology, more capability,” Thomson said.
New services include permitting, property taxes and licenses, just to name a few, he said. Programs can also notify users when payments are due or deadlines are coming up for renewing vehicle tags, for example.
Kansas residents will soon reap the benefits of PayIt’s recent contract with the Sunflower State. The iKan program was expected to launch this month to help users pay bills and fines via their mobile devices.
PayIt’s cloud-based system is in stark contrast to older, incumbent companies that build custom software that quickly becomes antiquated before agencies can use it, Thomson said.
“We’re creating a lot of value for our clients across the country, driving a lot of innovation into a market that’s lacked innovation, historically,” he said. “It’s all consumer-focused, so it’s smart, modern, convenient, as you would expect. You know, just reimagining the way people interact with their government.”
Thomson expects another year of tremendous growth, he said. In fact, PayIt already is pushing the bounds of its space on Broadway Boulevard, but is planning to expand the workspace. The company is looking for new talent to fill several positions, including software developers, client operations, service designers and product interaction designers, Thomson said.