Nasser Chanda, CEO of Chesterfield County-based Paymerang, announced his company's expansion into Wise County on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Earl Neikirk/Neikirk Image.

Updated 3:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional details about the expansion from Paymerang CEO Nasser Chanda.

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A Richmond-area company that automates payment and invoice services for business clients said Thursday that it will hire up to 50 people for a new Wise County location.

Paymerang currently has about 200 employees in Chesterfield County and last week was named to the Inc. 5000, an annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States, for the third year in a row.

Its new outpost will be based out of a coworking space in Big Stone Gap, the company said in a news release. The employees there will engage in software development and payment operations for Paymerang’s clients.

“We’ve been able to recruit nicely in Richmond,” CEO Nasser Chanda said after Thursday’s announcement. “But as we were looking to grow … we wanted to spread it around a bit. We wanted to invest in an area where we thought we could get great talent — high-integrity, ethical talent.”

Chanda said he first got to know the region a little more than a year ago through Will Payne of InvestSWVA, a public-private business attraction and marketing program. His daughter also spent a year at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

“We can see that it has tremendous potential for us here,” he said. “We’re dedicating a portion of our growth here. We’re going to continue to grow in Richmond as well.”

The company is “fully committed” to an expansion strategy that includes a distributed workforce, he said.

“Southwest Virginia is the perfect location for us to test and refine this strategy, and we are thrilled to be part of the region’s economic story,” he said.

Paymerang already has hired a few people in call center positions for the new Wise County operation, Chanda said, and has some openings in cloud engineering. He said he could not provide specific pay levels for new hires but said that the company’s wages are “very competitive” and that rates will be “pretty close” to what the company offers in Richmond.

Paymerang was founded in 2010 and in 2018 was acquired by Aldrich Capital Partners. In recent years, it has been on a fast growth trajectory; Chanda said the company had 25 employees when he joined in 2016.

Economic development officials touted Thursday’s announcement as validation of an initiative launched in 2021 to sell Southwest Virginia to companies that rely on telework or other hybrid workplace models – to establish the region as “a haven for companies expanding their workforces in rural locations,” according to Payne.

The initiative, Project Fuse, is a collaboration between the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority and InvestSWVA.

“This validates the research showing that our localities are well-positioned to offer modular space and workers to vibrant companies,” Duane Miller, executive director of the planning district commission, said in the release. “Moreover, Paymerang’s decision to join us here sends a message that our communities are in a geographic sweet spot for companies and workers alike.”

Development of the coworking space that Paymerang’s new employees will use was funded in part by a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission in 2019.

Megan Schnabel

Megan Schnabel is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach her at megan@cardinalnews.org.