- Corporate virtual card services provider Extend will expand its 90-employee workforce by 20% this year as it stretches its international reach, and potentially adds consumer card services later in 2023, CEO Andrew Jamison said in an interview last week.
- The New York company entered Canada last month by way of an agreement with Toronto-based BMO Financial Group, which will tap Extend features to provide its Mastercard commercial card clients in North America with more services. Extend also struck a deal last month with London-based HSBC Holdings, which will offer Extend’s virtual services to U.S. commercial clients.
- Nonetheless, Extend is mainly focused on building its business in the U.S., which it considers “the most attractive market,” Jamison said.
Extend provides virtual card and spend management software services to banks and other financial institutions, enabling them to compete with fintechs such as Brex, Ramp and Marqeta, Jamison said. Extend’s clients include American Express, PacWest Bancorp, Silicon Valley Bank and City National Bank, among others.
Before co-founding Extend in 2016, Jamison spent more than a decade at Amex, including as a vice president overseeing business-to-business product management and development, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In addition to its two recent international agreements, Extend is also nearing a partnership with another European bank that Jamison declined to name.
Extend isn’t the only U.S. payments company pressing ahead outside the U.S. as worldwide economic woes force companies to cultivate new markets. Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Shift4, which last month acquired a Swiss online payments company, has put a priority on international expansion, said the company’s chief strategy officer, Taylor Lauber.
"What we think is really going to differentiate us over the next ten years is going to be this idea of a truly global platform,” Lauber said in an interview last week.
Extend may be in the mood for acquisitions, too, at least more than it’s interested in being acquired, Jamison said. “We’re very much at the beginning so there's really no interest here in us being involved in a sale transaction,” Jamison said.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be open to making acquisitions itself, he said. “We will continue to look at opportunities out there and if there's technology available that helps us accelerate our roadmap, we will absolutely look at it,” Jamison said.
Extend has raised $54 million to date, with its most recent $40 million round of funding in October 2021. While other startups may be wondering where their next dollar is coming from in the current distressed economy, Extend has enough capital to fuel its growth through the year, including its plan to increase the size of its 90-employee workforce by about 20% this year, Jamison said.
Shift4, which sold shares to the public in 2020, also plans to keep hiring this year, Lauber said, without providing details. The company has grown its headcount 20% over the past six months to 2,300 employees, and Lauber said the closing of the company’s acquisition of Finaro early this year will add about 350 employees.
Shift4’s executives have recently mulled the notion of taking the company private again.
Jamison sees Extend’s cash cushion as setting it apart from some other startups that might find themselves in a “death spiral” this year as economic conditions worsen. Young companies that aren’t as well capitalized are sometimes forced to cut staff and that can have “massive impacts on the business, he said.