A growing Canadian mobile payments firm is swiping into southwestern Connecticut after winning one of the state’s top investment competitions.
The Toronto-based Dream Payments this week opened its first U.S. offices in the city’s South End, in the Comradity co-working center on Canal Street. With the arrival in Connecticut, Dream executives said they found an ideal location for launching their services in the U.S. later this year and connecting with corporate partners.
“Stamford seemed to be a great area in terms of being a tech hub,” Brent Ho-Young, Dream Payments’ CEO, said in a video-conference interview this week. “But it’s not only about tech, it’s also about where employees will enjoy living and working. We just heard really good feedback.”
Founded in 2014, Dream grabbed the attention of Connecticut investors last year after entering the state-chartered investment and consulting organization Connecticut Innovations’ VentureClash investment challenge. Dream would win the competition, earning a $1.5 million investment from Connecticut Innovations to support the development of its U.S. operations.
“We wanted to provide them a smooth landing and create a network in which they could come hit the ground running,” said Matthew McCooe, Connecticut Innovations’ CEO. “We’re really confident that Dream will be a great success for Connecticut and for all the investors.”
Comradity’s collaborative environment highlighted the appeal of Stamford, Ho-Young said.
“You’re not off on an island; you’re with like-minded folks that are trying to accomplish big things,” Ho-Young said. “And you’ve got that support structure not only from CI, but the other startups that are on a similar mission.”
Clay Keller, Dream’s cloud and network architect, is the firm’s first Stamford-based employee. He will lead a Connecticut contingent that could eventually expand to about a dozen, covering areas including business development, account management and operational support.
“I build, maintain and support all company environments and services,” Keller said. “There’s a push now to move our infrastructure off physical devices and go completely virtual network in everything. I’m going to spearhead that initiative.”
The other firms with offices at Comradity have welcomed the arrival of Dream, said the co-working space’s husband and wife co-founders, Jim and Katherine Kern.
“The first time that Clay arrived, immediately there were people asking him about what his technology is and seeing some possibilities about how to integrate what Dream is doing with what they’re doing,” Katherine Kern said.
Dream executives are targeting a fourth-quarter roll-out of their firm’s services in the U.S. Servicing several thousand businesses in Canada, the firm provides businesses with cloud-based mobile technology to accept debit and credit cards and “contactless” payment platforms like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The firm also produces online reports and analytics, so clients can manage their businesses on mobile devices.
“One of the reasons that we find Dream so attractive from our perspective is that we can easily facilitate the expansion of their operation in a fashion that is economically feasible for them and valuable for us because we like to be part of a growth operation,” Jim Kern said. “We are also very strong believers in the type of technology that Dream is bringing to the shores of the U.S.”