Brooklyn Not Friendly and Passionate Enough for BankSimple, Start-Up Moves to Portland

An early collage of the BankSimple team, looking very Brooklyn. Or very Portland.

BankSimple, the Brooklyn-based personal finance start-up that was supposed to have launched already, surprised us with the announcement today that it’s moving its headquarters to Portland, OR, a city which this reporter knows a smidgeon about, having lived and worked as a business reporter there. In addition to some mobile app development shops, this makes BankSimple, funded to the tune of $13 million and boasting early Twitter employee Alex Payne as a co-founder, easily one of the most high-profile start-ups based in Rip City.


From the start-up’s blog post today:

BankSimple is moving to Portland, Oregon.

Last month, we gathered our New York, San Francisco and Portland teams for a week-long all-hands meeting in Portland. While we’ve been working effectively as a group spread across the country, having everyone together in one place was incredible.

We’re excited to announce that we will be consolidating our teams to one location in Portland’s beautiful Pearl district. The rationale for our move is straightforward. As our company grows, it’s important that we have everyone in the same place. Being centrally located allows us to collaborate more closely and create a strong and consistent culture.

Okay, you want to consolidate teams. But why Portland? “It seems like a place where people are friendly, but they’re still very passionate about what they do,” Mr. Payne told the Oregonian.

Portland is also a highly affordable fun place where it’d be easy to attract employees. Despite the presence of internet-savvy ad agency W+K, which was responsible for the Digg/Old Spice ad campaign and the start-up incubator that agency launched last summer, it’s definitely a second-tier city as far as tech action goes. BankSimple will be a big fish in a small pond. Whether that’ll be a long-term benefit for the start-up is hard to say.

BankSimple from the outside appears to have had some rough patches recently with its lead engineer abruptly leaving and its delayed launch, but recent announcements suggest it’s closing in on a launch date.

UPDATE: A tipster writes in to remind us of Mr. Payne’s history with Portland, the city that works, from where he convinced Twitter to let him work remotely because he was just not that into San Francisco. Guess this isn’t such a shocker. Perhaps he felt BankSimple could do a better job disrupting the banking sector long-range. Or maybe he just missed the food carts? Brooklyn Not Friendly and Passionate Enough for BankSimple, Start-Up Moves to Portland