Melbourne fintech Assembly is doubling its local head count after Victorian government intervention

Darren McMurtrie, Simon Lee and Simon Jones in new Assembly Payments T shirts. (Source: supplied)

The Victorian government has convinced Australian fintech startup Assembly to remain in Melbourne and double its head count.

The company was already headquartered out of Melbourne but with offices in Sydney, St Louis and Manila, it had considered shifting its geographic focus elsewhere before the state government intervened.

With the geographic decision wrapped up, the hiring of 60 new staff will soon follow, adding to its current workforce of 64 people. The company has moved into a top floor office in Collingwood.

“We don’t believe it’s a sacrifice. Silicon Valley companies sell all round the world, as can we,” said Assembly chief executive Simon Lee.

“A couple of years ago people would ask why we don’t move to San Francisco or London, but now we’re seeing other Aussie tech companies build international offices but keep HQ at home — so it’s becoming more normal.”

Assembly declined to disclose the dollar value of the state government subsidy.

Victoria state innovation minister Philip Dalidakis said it was heartening to see “home-grown” startups like Assembly “stay true to their roots”.

“We have the highest number of tech graduates in the country and this expansion will mean more high-skill jobs for our future,” he said.

Chinese internet giant Alibaba opened its regional headquarters in Melbourne in February after a deal with the state government. Hired, Square and Slack also have regional hubs located in the Victorian capital.

Assembly, formerly known as PromisePay, runs a mobile and online payment system used by ecommerce websites such as Gumtree, and AirTasker.

Since starting in 2014, Assembly has claimed it has doubled subscriptions every quarter and grown its revenue 25% month-on-month in the past year. As PromisePay, the startup completed one of the biggest funding rounds in Australia last year, clinching $14 million in June.

The capital raise was led by Australian tech venture capital firm Rampersand, Westpac-backed Reinventure, US fintech fund Cultivation Capital, Limited, 99Designs co-founder Mark Harbottle and former Hitwise chief Andrew Walsh.

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