Startups

LevelUp closes nearly all its remote offices, including Philly

The change has been in the works for the past year, as the mobile payment startup has found ways to become more efficient and centralize most of the responsibilities of its remote offices, but the final move was LevelUp's partnership with payment processor Heartland Payment Systems

LevelUp has closed almost all of its remote offices, including its flagship Philadelphia office, said former LevelUp Philadelphia city manager Jenna Flateman Posner. The company had employees in 11 cities, Flateman Posner said, and the only office that will remain open is the one in San Francisco.

The change has been in the works for the past year. The official story here is the mobile payment startup has found ways to become more efficient and centralize most of the responsibilities of its remote offices, but the final move to trim staff was LevelUp’s partnership with payment processor Heartland Payment Systems.

The hope is that Heartland’s 800-person strong sales team and more than 250,000 merchant partners across the country will propel LevelUp’s national reach. It also means that there’s no longer a need to spend on remote offices.

A DreamIt Ventures Philadelphia company that moved to Boston after it left the incubator in 2008, LevelUp/SCVNGR began its national expansion in early 2011 with an office in Center City. At its height, the local office had 10-15 employees who worked on marketing, implementation and sales, said Flateman Posner, who has led the office since its inception. By early 2013, the office had shrunk to two employees.

Throughout 2012, as the Philly office hits its 500th local partner, LevelUp cut local staff as it developed ways to handle marketing and implementation from its headquarters. The company did marketing digitally and created “self-service” implementation kits for its retail partners, so that employees didn’t have to walk retailers through the mobile payment setup.

While Flateman Posner is sad about the office shutting down, she said it makes sense — it’s expensive to run nearly a dozen remote teams.

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LevelUp offered her a job in Boston, but Flateman Posner, who moved from New York to open the Philly office, turned it down because her life is here: she owns a house, her wife has a career in the city. She’s looking for a job in the local tech community and said the prospects are exciting.

For one, we spotted Flateman Posner tweeting Curalate CEO Apu Gupta, who is in a hiring effort.

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