Laura Beier Jul 8, 2021 12:00:00 AM 6 min read

Minnesota Startup Award Winner Kipsu Grows Internationally

In an increasingly digital world, Kipsu is making it simple for businesses like hotels, stores, and restaurants to connect with their consumers.

Winners of the 2019 Voyageur Award and 2015 BETA alumni, the Minnesota-based startup has been going strong for 10 years — but they’re not slowing down anytime soon.


How does it work?

You know when you’re trying to find a hotel for the night, or a restaurant for dinner, but you don’t want to call them? 

That’s where Kipsu comes in. The Minnesota-based company and 2015 BETA alum provides text messaging to help businesses connect with their customers through their software platform.

“Everyone is communicating through text, we make it easy for businesses to connect with their customers,” said Justin Porter, VP of Enterprise Engagement at Kipsu.

They provide SMS messaging in the U.S., and are some of the few that have partnerships with Apple and Google, Porter explained. Integrated into your smartphone as an app, if users pull up Google (or Apple) Maps, they can just tap a business messaging app that reaches the business directly.

“Last year, no one traveled, but now that everyone is getting back on the road, hotels are busier than ever,” Porter said. “They really need tools like ours where they can multitask and have more time to respond,” he added.

Eighty-five percent of Kipsu’s customers are in the hospitality industry, but they do a bit of work in shopping and retail — the Mall of America for one — and are branching out into other industries like apartments and healthcare.


The BETA Experience:

Porter joined the Kipsu team as one of the earliest members in 2014, and they went through the BETA Showcase experience in 2015. 

“We’re big fans of BETA,” he said, mentioning that at the time Kipsu was trying to get traction and publicity with the goal of recruiting to scale — and they did have some hires that came out of Showcase.

“It was a great opportunity to connect with people,” he said. “I found Showcases beneficial, as someone just going to meet other people in the startup space.”

As we reopen and get back to meeting in person, Porter is excited to continue building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota.

“Just bringing people together, now face to face, is how we’re going to grow our ecosystem,” he said. “BETA is having a direct positive impact on the community here.”


What’s next:

Currently at 65 full-time employees, Kipsu is looking to hire even more — and almost double that. Porter mentioned plans to hire 50 people in the next 12-18 months, as the company continues to grow with the recent uptick in travel.

This is to accommodate the big plan to expand internationally, he said. Kipsu is currently offered in 50 countries, and will be adding about 20 more. “It gets pretty crazy when you’re expanding internationally,” Porter said.


About Kipsu:

Kipsu helps businesses create meaningful connections with customers through digital messaging. Learn more about their mission and team here.


Minnesota Startup Awards: 

Nominations are still open for the 2021 Minnesota Startup Awards! Make sure your favorite company, community organization, or individual gets the recognition they need — nominate here today.


About BETA

BETA is a 501(c)(3) organization that develops Minnesota’s next generation of business leaders by inspiring and educating first-time founders. The BETA Group nurtures startups and small businesses with great scalability potential, so that they can grow to become our next Fortune 100s. Learn more here.