A move to the Lightwell building signals more than continued growth for Kansas City-based PayIt: it’s the beginning of the company’s transition from startup to scaleup, revealed John Thomson.
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“We’re scrappy underdogs in this big market of big players and I don’t want us to lose that,” Thomson, co-founder and CEO, told Startland News of the company’s evolution. In moving to downtown, the company will occupy the 23,000-square-foot, seventh floor of the rising and rehabbed Lightwell building — formerly known as City Center Square.
Nearly 30 PayIt employees are already working in temporary space at Lightwell — the result of rapid growth on the heels of a more than $100 million funding round last year — with the GovTech company set to fully move operations into its new space by June.
“Even as we grow, that underdog mentality is a really powerful one and we’re not a startup anymore. We’re a scaleup and it’s a different phase of our story,” Thomson said. “The time is right and we’re really excited about it.”
The relocation will remove the transformative tech scaleup from the startup-heavy Crossroads Arts District and into the rising energy of the City of Fountain’s epicenter, the co-founder said.
“It’s representative of our growing stature in the market — hopefully in Kansas City — but mostly it’s our commitment to this community and this market and the ecosystem,” Thomson said, noting a move into a building that was once a corporate mecca could also be seen as a sign of maturity — a sentiment echoed by leaders at WeWork, which occupies the buildings third and fourth floors.
Click here to read more about WeWork Lightwell.
News of the move comes just over a year after Somera Road and AREA Real Estate Advisors identified PayIt as a prime prospect for Lightwell, poised to become one of Kansas City’s most recognizable tech companies, noted Basel Bataineh, vice president of Somera Road.
“PayIt’s commitment to the Lightwell is a testament that we’re creating what KC’s tech and creative class have been looking for — and that’s high quality real estate at scale,” Bataineh said, adding PayIt came to the table early enough in the development of Lightwell that the scaleup was able to guide key pieces of the design process in its new space.
“More than anything, we firmly believe PayIt’s move affords them with modern, Class-A office space that companies like them need to continue their growth,” he added.
The third location for PayIt — which first occupied space above Escapist Skateboarding along Southwest Boulevard before moving to its current location at 1812 Broadway in 2016 — the Lightwell building will provide the company with room to grow for years to come, Thomson explained.
“[There’s] the chance to take other floors in the building as we grow. You learn a lot about what you need in space … there’s what you think you need and then what you find out you need,” Thomson laughed, noting the space provides PayIt’s team with upgraded amenities, access to the streetcar line, food and entertainment hotspots, and the chance to be part of something truly revolutionary for Kansas City businesses.
“We’ve always said we wanted to build the next great Kansas City company that’s transforming a market and we felt like [Lightwell] is doing some of those same things,” Thomson said of synergy between PayIt and Lightwell and ways the right space can drive overall company culture.
“Their commitment to making it the right space for us, they really got to know us and what mattered to us and it’s fun to get to do that — we thought, ‘Man, what a cool opportunity,’” he said.
Already home to BacklotCars — which relocated in 2019 to the building’s 15th floor from the Globe Building and Plexpod Crossroads — Lightwell continues to negotiate deals with area companies and is expected to announce additional tenants as constructions nears completion, Bataineh said.
“We view ourselves as solutions providers,” he said. “The problem we identified is that KC has a lack of immediately-available, high-quality office space. And the solution we came up with is Liightwell, which offers modern space, state-of-the-art amenities, and a robust community of entrepreneurs, creatives, and more.”
“We’re eager to make more announcements [like this one] soon.”
Click here to read about the addition of a new food hall concept from the minds behind Strang Hall, expected to open inside Lightwell by year’s end.