Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and every business plays a critical role in keeping Montana’s towns vibrant. The Treasure State consistently ranks among the top five in reports from the Kauffman Foundation in rates of business ownership and business sustainability.

In our Q and A series, we’ll introduce you to some of Montana’s brightest and best entrepreneurs from all corners of the state. These businesses are involved in a variety of industries including hospitality, retail, and food.

Let’s head to Helena!

1. What is your first and last name, title, how long you’ve been with the company?

My name is David Thompson and I’m the Vice President, Engineering based in our Helena, Montana office. I’ve been with SoFi since May 2014, so just over five years.

2. What is SoFi? How long have you been in operation?

SoFi started as a student loan refinancing company in the Bay Area in 2011. Since then, we’ve grown to over 800,000 members, underwriting over $40B in loans, and providing a full suite of financial tools that are all online, easy to use, and competitively priced, including SoFi Money and SoFi Invest.

3. Why did you decide to open offices in Montana?

It’s been an amazing opportunity to hire some of the best and brightest engineering talent, while offering people a different lifestyle than the hustle and bustle (and expense) of San Francisco.

4. Why did you decide to open an office in Helena?

SoFi’s expansion into Helena wasn’t actually intentional–the company hired me and a former colleague from the Student Assistance Foundation. We had no interest in moving to Silicon Valley, so we started building a team right here.

5. What are the benefits of doing business in Montana?

There’s already an existing talent pool, and we’ve only seen that grow since we started the office here because of the appeal of being in Helena, Montana. Outside of the office, Helena offers easy access to mountain biking trails, fishing, camping, skiing in the winter, paired with a reasonable cost of living.

6. What has surprised you about doing business in Montana?

I’ve never failed to be impressed by the quality and quantity of talent that exists right here in Montana. We often find we have more success in hiring and retaining talent here, than some of our comparable partners in the Bay Area.

7. What would help your business succeed even more in Montana?

Even more talent to hire!

8. Is there anything new or exciting from SoFi this year?

It’s an exciting time at SoFi, given the breadth of our product expansion, allowing us to offer more products to more people than ever before.

9. What are your future plans for SoFi in Montana?

We’re currently at around 150 employees at our Montana office. Even though we’ve grown a lot in size over the last couple of years, we focus on maintaining a small, family-like energy.

10. Why should other companies consider expanding their locations and make Montana home?

Life in Montana can’t be beat–between the access to beautiful scenery, a reasonable cost of living, and a thriving community, what more could you ask for!

Do you know a local business that should be highlighted on our Q +A feature? Fill out the questionnaire here, and we will consider featuring your business!

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