Raffi Kayat launched tech startup borderless in New York City two years ago but quickly started looking for a new home.
“Staying in New York would have made it very difficult to create the positive work environment and culture that we were seeking as a company,” he says.
He looked at Los Angeles, Austin, and other cities, but then happened upon an article about Louisville’s startup scene. Although he’d never been to Kentucky, he gradually realized that the city by the Ohio was a great place to grow his enterprise.
We caught up with Kayat recently to learn more about borderless and the local tech community. This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.
What is borderless?
Kayat: We are an international ACH, or what we call an international direct debit platform, that provides an alternative payment method to credit cards and bank wires. We created this cheaper, safer, faster type of infrastructure where we get to avoid middlemen. By avoiding them we naturally are going to be a little bit cheaper and a little bit faster. This can save up to 67% in payment processing fees alone.
Who does borderless serve?
Kayat: We’re live with clients in a variety of sectors. We have clients in travel, logistics, tech, e-commerce, education—really any business can sign up today.
We made it a plug-and-play integration for all types of businesses. Whether you’re a small business that does not have a technical team … or whether you’re a tech-friendly business that has an e-commerce or substantial digital presence, you can integrate borderless. [Individuals can also use the service.]
What do you like about Louisville?
Kayat: Moving here to Kentucky was a little bit of a change to me, but I love it. I love the people. I love the community ethic. That’s kind of what stands out the most to me.
And what about the startup and tech scenes here?
Kayat: There’s so many people that just want to help out. Everyone’s supportive. It makes it easier to connect with other people and build relationships. And you can get noticed. The ecosystem is oversaturated in New York and Silicon Valley.
Speaking of getting noticed, you won a Vogt Award in 2019, right?
Kayat: Yes. That was honestly the best thing that could have happened to us. We’re very grateful for it, because it really helped us get involved in the community and better understand the ecosystem as an outside company.
How are you supporting clients during the pandemic?
Kayat: We are supporting businesses in this difficult time by waiving our monthly fees for 12 months. We really want to help businesses improve their efficiency by reducing their operational costs and payment fees during this time.
Our team believes that by helping one company retain one employee, we can help a family stay safe and healthy.
Note: Kayat is also making himself available to businesspeople in Louisville to talk about sales, working from home, operating more efficiently, or “just to connect, chat and stay sane during these difficult times.” (Click here to access his calendar.)