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A California company that provides payment mechanisms for firms such as DoorDash, Instacart, Square and Uber plans to open a second headquarters this year in the Denver area that is expected to employ more than 500 by 2028.

Oakland-based Marqeta selected Denver over Portland, Ore., and 15 other cities it didn't disclose for its second U.S. headquarters, with plans to hire up to 100 by the end of next year, according to a news release from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The jobs initially will mostly be focused on technology and product development and pay an average annual wage of $134,472, or 155% of the median wage in the Denver area counties it is considering for its office. The office will open sometime this year, subject to "public health considerations," Marqeta said.

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"While the current pandemic has brought unprecedented change to our working lives, we expect collaborative office spaces to remain an important part of the Marqeta culture," company founder and CEO Jason Gardner said in the state's release. "We are thrilled to be expanding Marqeta into metropolitan Denver, exporting the unique culture and energy from our Oakland home to a new city and tapping into a deep talent pool in Colorado."

Colorado landed Marqeta with the help of $5.53 million in state income tax credits approved by the Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday. The Denver office will house management, finance, business development, software engineering, marketing, legal and operations personnel, according to a summary the economic development office released last week.

Jeff Chou, Marqeta's director of real estate and workplace experience, said the company thinks of its offices as "employee-centric, not only in terms of the facilities and perks, but the surrounding area's culture and livability. Denver consistently rose to the top across a lot of different factors we were considering." The factors included talent availability, operational cost, tax climate, livability, population growth, travel accessibility and culture.

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Sam Bailey, vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said the nonprofit has been talking with Marqeta since April. He said some of the jobs the company planned in Denver would be entry-level and available to those who were laid off amid the COVID-19 pandemic after Gov. Jared Polis issued a stay-at-home order that forced many businesses to close.

"Colorado is an emerging leader in financial technology because of our high quality of life and talented workforce, and I'm very excited to have a great company like Marqeta make its second home in Colorado," Polis said in the release. "Our state is a hub for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. This is a challenging time for many businesses, and we're excited to see the creative ways companies are finding to continue growing while protecting their employees and customers."

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Gardner, who previously co-founded real estate management electronic payment provider PropertyBridge, started Marqeta in 2010 and landed more than $500 million in financing from Visa, Goldman Sachs and several venture capital firms. The company has grown to more than 430 people and is valued at more than $4 billion. Marqeta had issued more than 140 million credit and debit cards by the end of last year, and also provides electronic wallets and other payment mechanisms for online retail and on-demand services.

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