It’s hard to believe that Simple became available to customers only one year ago. The online-only banking startup, which started in New York and made the move to Portland, set out to change the way people bank in America and so far, so good for the 72-person team in the Rose City.
CEO and co-founder Joshua Reich penned this blog post today celebrating the company’s one-year anniversary and provided some impressive numbers. Simple is already processing more than $1 billion in transactions per year for more than 40,000 customers across the country, while more than 250,000 have requested an invite to use the service.
The tech-savvy startup wants to replace your bank and do so without paper checks or physical locations. It partners with Bancorp for the traditional banking necessities, which gives the company time to focus on customer experience.
Simple prides itself on the fact that it does not impose often-confusing overdraft charges and other fees like out-of-network ATM charges. Its platform also offers a way for customers to easily track purchases in real-time and set spending goals with its web and smartphone products.
We chatted a bit with Reich to find out why Simple has found so much success so early on.
“It really comes down to our core mission: To help people spend smarter and save more,” Reich said. “We find that most banks, while they hold your money, are not on your side. They make money from fees and charges — we don’t.”
Simple’s goal-setting tools have proven popular. The technology is similar to Mint in some ways, but pulls all your spending information from Simple transactions rather than a bevy of third parties.
“We keep hearing that customers know saving is something they should be doing, but it’s been painful to do it in the past,” Reich said. “With Simple, it’s really easy to effortlessly save. To see customers using it reinforces that we are on the right track.”
Another interesting aspect of Simple, which has raised $15.8 million to date and makes money via interest margins and interchange fees, is the move it made from startup hub New York City to Portland, which is still in its early stages as a startup city but growing rapidly.
Simple had been operating with folks in New York, San Francisco and Portland, but Reich wanted to get everyone in one office. His employees in San Fran liked the idea of Portland because of its low cost of living and lifestyle, which sounds very familiar to another startup founder we just wrote about.
“It’s been phenomenal for us,” Reich said of Portland. “A big part of our success comes down to the personal human level of customer service, and Portland has a great talent pool for that. People share our morals and really want to build fantastic careers around what we do. It’s hard to find that in other cities.”
That is the same sentiment shared by our GeekWire CEO of the Year Sam Blackman from Elemental Technologies, who told us that the Rose City is the next great startup mecca.
“In my opinion, if you are a software engineer graduating from college right now, there is no better city you can move to than Portland,” Blackman said.
Before he moved to P-Town, Reich worked in places like New York, Australia and San Francisco. He admitted he was nervous re-locating to a smaller metro area like Portland, but now he’s seen the light.
“After being here for two years, that nervousness is gone,” he said. “It’s such a collaborative city. As word gets out and more companies stay here, it will just grow.”
Reich sat down with TechCrunch earlier this year and you can learn more about the company in the video interview below: