Braintree, an online payments tech company that put its roots down in Chicago in 2007, just announced that it will add 150 jobs to their West Loop headquarters. Over the next two years or so, that office will triple in size--a change that would allow Braintree to take the lead in the payments space.
According to company CEO Bill Ready, there are two macrotrends ruling online payments today. The first is using a cloud-based infrastructure, which not only decreases the cost of starting up and maintaining a mobile or online business, it also gives devs the chance to build products instead of serving as maintenance people. “Payments is the last piece of major infrastructure that has not moved,” says Ready.
Mobile commerce--the growth of it, specifically--is the other trend on everyone’s tongues these days. With one in five ecommerce transactions taking place on a mobile device, the opportunity to capture inevitable growth in this space is huge. Today, Braintree processes nearly $1 billion in mobile volume annually.
Why is this so important? According to Ready, his company is trying to build something that would transform the mobile payments ecosystem. “Braintree's goal is to build a payment platform that developers can easily build on top of, similar to what iOS did for mobile apps,” Ready says. “In payments today, there is still a confusing backend. We are building the tools that will allow developers to innovate on top of our payment platform.”
This is exciting news for companies and developers alike. For the former, an easy, reliable online payments system would be more attainable and for the latter, building that system would be that much easier. An iOS for online payment is a lofty goal, but one that certainly invites interest from others in the ecommerce space.
Ready cites Braintree’s mission to “make it as easy as possible for growing companies to process payments” as a driver behind the team’s expansion. “Finding enough engineering talent--developers, product managers, and designers--[is] critical to rapidly introducing new software.In addition, we're adding operations staff to maintain our reputation for excellent customer service.”
Braintree’s clients range from high profile (DISQUS, Rovio, Fab and Sun Times Media) to high growth (Sittercity, Belly, edo interactive). Ready says the local element is key to Braintree’s expansion; after all, they didn’t add jobs to their smaller, newer Menlo Park office. Ready says Chicago’s tech ecosystem was just a sapling, if you will, when Braintree launched in 2007. Now, things have changed. Companies such as 1871, Excelerate Labs and Code Academy are “terrific resources for supporting and providing resources to entrepreneurs and developers who want to work for a startup.”
Last month at the Built In Chicago Moxie Awards, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “I want [Chicago] to be the digital capital of the country.” Well, Mr. Mayor, looks like your dreams are one step closer to coming true.