Alternative lending provider Affirm is the latest tech company to look to Pittsburgh for talent, announcing plans to open an office in the Rust Belt city.
The company said today that it expects to hire 100 employees by the end of 2019, and 500 employees within the next five years.
Founded in 2012, Affirm reportedly reached a nearly $2 billion valuation last December. The company, which counts Max Levchin as one of its cofounders, provides loans to consumers for personal purchases.
Customers who secure a loan through Affirm are told upfront how much they’ll have to pay each month, and loans typically charge between 10 percent and 30 percent APR simple interest. Affirm doesn’t charge any late fees or compounding interest. The company claims that in by doing so, the process is “more flexible and transparent” than taking out a line of credit.
Affirm is calling the Pittsburgh office its “second flagship office,” though the company already has a satellite office in New York City, in addition to its San Francisco headquarters. In total, Affirm has 450 full-time employees.
An Affirm spokesperson told VentureBeat that the company plans to hire primarily for operational and back-office roles in the Pittsburgh office, which will deal with customer inquiries.
“Pittsburgh is leading a new model of urban growth and development that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable and it’s great to see another leading technology startup taking advantage of it,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a press release announcing the news.
In recent years, large tech companies including Amazon and Facebook have opened specialized research offices in Pittsburgh. The back office jobs that will be offered by Affirm are of a different nature from the research and engineering jobs Amazon and Facebook have hired for — which typically draw professors and grad students from nearby Carnegie Mellon.
Rather, Affirm’s eagerness to place a significant portion of its customer service jobs in Pittsburgh are a sign that, even as the city garners more interest from San Francisco companies, the cost of doing business there is still relatively low. Some homegrown Pittsburgh startups, including Duolingo, have in recent months tried to recruit talent from the Bay Area on the basis that the cost of buying a house in Pittsburgh is still much lower than in other places.