Landing more than $100 million in funding is no small feat for PayIt — or any startup, John Thomson said with a mix of humble confidence.
“Wins beget wins, and it helps to build the ecosystem,” said Thomson, CEO and co-founder of PayIt.
Click here to read more about PayIt’s investment from Insight Partners.
For Thomson, sealing the massive deal is more than a win for him or for the GovTech startup — it’s a win for every Kansas City startup and the people who hustle to make them grow.
“I got my start at Cerner, and I learned a ton there. It was an amazing opportunity. Now I look around and think, man, maybe there’s somebody here that is in their twenties now and they’re going to go on to be the next big entrepreneur,” Thomson said, as he watched his team through the glass windows of a conference room inside PayIt’s Crossroads headquarters.
Another reporter asked if, with the game-changing investment, PayIt would relocate to another city, Thomson recalled.
“I said, ‘No. Why would I do that?’ And she questions, ‘Well, you know, it’s Kansas City. Is there enough talent? Is Kansas City a place where you can build a world-class tech company?’”
In Thomson’s eyes, it is. And there’s far from a shortage of tenacious talent, he said, wild with Kansas City pride.
“The ecosystem needs successes along the way. This is just the next step in a big growth story for us, but there’s a lot of interplay with the community.”
A group of Startland investment and subject matter experts echoed Thomson’s thoughts when asked what PayIt’s success means for the Kansas City startup ecosystem.
Their responses are highlighted below as part of a limited series: Startland Specialists.
Dr. Jeff Colyer
Role: Former governor of Kansas
Kansas was the very first state to have an app where you can renew licenses and really start being ahead of its time. PayIt has been an excellent partner, and it really shows what can happen if you’re in the heartland.
Kansas has a great opportunity for these sorts of technologies. It’s not just happening on the coasts. In fact, we’re starting to see investors coming to the heartland and looking at the companies we have growing here.
(Click here to read about how PayIt’s technology has allowed Kansas motorists to skip the line at the DMV.)
Role: Founder and managing partner, M25
In a few years, this type of announcement might happen every quarter in a city like Kansas City. It may sound ridiculous now, but PayIt is in the first batch of a deluge of large tech company financings across the Midwest.
Every time a round like this happens, it sends a signal to coastal [venture capital] firms — where the vast majority of venture capital is based — that they are “missing out.” Nothing worse for a VC than experiencing FOMO, so now Kansas City is on their map of places they need to take seriously, perhaps even fly into (rather than over.)
It’s a huge proof point for a city that has done so much to support entrepreneurs but hasn’t yet had the massive exit — a la Duo in Ann Arbor, CoverMyMeds in Columbus or ExactTarget in Indy. This says, “Yes, Kansas City can create, build, support and grow a company with massive, global potential and attract world-class VCs in a huge financing round.”
Role: Managing director, Royal Street Ventures
People have always questioned whether companies can raise capital in KC. John Thomson and Mike Plunkett, PayIt’s leaders, have proven that with a talented team solving an enormous pain point for customers in a large total addressable market it can be done. It’s validation for the entire KC ecosystem.
I expect the PayIt transaction will also put KC on the radar of other large growth capital funds.
This raise is just the start of the next chapter for PayIt. I expect John and Mike to continue to build a huge, lasting business in KC.
Role: Founder and CEO, DEG Linked by Isobar; Co-chair, KC Rising
Success begets success, as starting the virtuous cycle of growth in any community first begins with the confidence that we can accomplish big things. This raise, and other events like it, serve as the excellent proof we need to continue the great momentum Kansas City has.
PayIt is a great company and builds off of our region’s proven success bringing innovative technology to government. And they have now partnered with a really powerful and transformative financial sponsor, so there are sure to be great things ahead.
Role: Partner at MLP Holdings; Co-chair, KC Rising
This shows that you don’t have to start your business in San Fran, Boston or New York to raise capital.
There are many great entrepreneurs in KC and technology combined with the attributes of Midwestern cities like KC will continue to change the flows of capital. Hats off to PayIt!