With plans to hire 200, a former PayPal CEO launches new digital bank in Miami

·2 min read

Two hundred new tech jobs could be coming to Miami in the next two years, thanks to the latest venture from a former CEO of PayPal.

Bill Harris, who led PayPal from 1999 to 2000 after serving for six years as executive vice president and CEO of Intuit, said Tuesday he has already begun hiring across engineering, product, marketing, and operations positions for his new global digital bank, called Nirvana. He plans to add 50 employees by year’s end and 200 by 2022.

In an interview, Harris said he has been living in the Miami area on and off for the past two years but permanently moved nine months ago. Despite his longtime tenure in Silicon Valley, the California tech center has grown too expensive and no longer makes sense from a tax perspective.

“The state income tax here, of course, is zero, and there it’s 10% at the margin,” Harris said. And housing is a relative bargain in South Florida compared with the Bay Area, where the median home price is nearing $1 million.

“A remarkable difference,” Harris said. “You combine those two elements, and you end up with a tremendous economic benefit.”

In a matter of months, Miami has seen more executives and firms announce hiring plans for tech and associated talent than at any point in South Florida history. The wave began with the arrival of global investment giant Blackstone last October and continued through 2021 to include multiple firms with a total of at least 700 new jobs paying an average annual salary of $162,000 in the city’s central business district.

And the workers are coming: A report published Monday by Axios showed Miami has seen a greater net increase in engineering talent than any other metro in the past 12 months.

Harris said he began building his digital bank in stealth in the throes of the pandemic. While senior ranks initially will mostly be filled by workers imported from Silicon Valley, the company plans to hire locally as it grows. Nirvana already has offices on Northwest 27th Street in Wynwood.

“That’s really the center for design and software — we want to be the place that the software and marketing and product people want to be. And in this particular market, Wynwood is where they want to be.”

As for Nirvana itself, Harris said he is hoping to target consumers who for too long have taken their “fragmented” financial lives for granted.

“With one account you’re dealing with late fees, another there’s an overdraft charge, and it all adds up,” he said, “not only economically — the dollar cost — but also emotionally. You end up that much more unsettled and anxious. So we pull all that together into one simple experience, one simple app.”

A list of open positions is available at nirvana.tech/careers.