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Charlotte-based financial tech firm raises $300 million for expansion; adds 600 jobs

Charlotte-based financial tech firm raises $300 million for major expansion

Michael Praeger, CEO of AvidXchange, announces a new partnership with Mastercard and the signing of $300 million in financing to support growth and development while unveiling their new building.
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Michael Praeger, CEO of AvidXchange, announces a new partnership with Mastercard and the signing of $300 million in financing to support growth and development while unveiling their new building.

AvidXchange, a Charlotte-based financial technology firm, said Thursday that it’s partnering with Mastercard Inc. and plans to create 200 jobs this year and more than 600 new jobs in Mecklenburg County by the end of 2018.

Most of the jobs created will be in the financial service and technology sectors.

“We want to build on these kinds of jobs and help brand Charlotte as a place where if you have the talents, you can be successful here,” said Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts, who joined AvidXchange for the announcement.

The mayor said the partnership will create “jobs of the future” for the city in areas such as cyber security, software development, big data and business analytics. UNC Charlotte and Queens University of Charlotte are also expected to provide high-skilled workforce available for the company’s future development.

The expansion was in part backed by an incentives award to AvidXchange from the state’s Job Development Investment Grant program. The grant could total up to over $7.5 million and is dependent on AvidXchange hitting certain hiring targets.

The company also announced a major new round of funding: $300 million, raised from big names such as Canada-based institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Mastercard, Temasek and Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal.

AvidXchange spokesperson Jennifer Ittenbach said the privately held company currently has no plans to go public.

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Richard Crum, the SVP of New Product Development at MasterCard, speaks at a press conference in AvidXchange's new location on Thursday, June 8. Jenna Eason jeason@charlotteobserver.com

Founded in 2000, AvidXchange creates payments processing and automation technology. The company has been growing rapidly over the past several years, bringing its total employee count close to 1,000.

“We founded AvidXchange to revolutionize the way midsize companies pay their bills,” said Michael Praeger, CEO and co-founder of AvidXchange, in a statement. “The strategic partnership with Mastercard will help us to realize the vision that we’ve had to transform an industry, and to reach the 350,000 businesses that are currently operating in the middle market with antiquated processes.”

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Michael Praeger, CEO of AvidXchange, introduces Richard Crum, the SVP of New Product Development at MasterCard, at a press conference to announce their partnership to make payments easier for small businesses in their new location on Thursday, June 8. Jenna Eason jeason@charlotteobserver.com

The partnership with MasterCard will create a new product called MasterCard B2B Hub, to be rolled out later this year. The new product aims to meet business-to-business payment needs by shifting paper checks to online transactions.

“The Mastercard B2B Hub is the latest way we are working to meet the broader payment needs of this segment,” said Colleen Taylor, executive vice president of new payments business for Mastercard, in a statement. “We see this solution as helping organizations maximize every minute and every dollar that they invest in their business.”

“(Mastercard) obviously has huge networks that we will be able to distribute our solutions to,” Ittenbach said. She said an important aspect of this partnership is the ability to combine AvidXchange’s technology with MasterCard’s long-lasting client relationships.

The company also marked the official completion of its six-story, 200,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building, across from the AvidXchange Music Factory. The company has room to add a second, similar building on the site.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower - Steve Jobs,” and similar quotes are featured on the first floor entrance of the new company building.

Having a vision of Charlotte being the “Silicon South,” Praeger said he used to look out at the big bank buildings dominating Charlotte’s skyline of Charlotte and wonder: “Why it couldn’t be us?” On Thursday, he said the company took a major step towards achieving that goal.

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