Brian Barth, founder and CEO of the fintech startup Uplift, has spent more than two decades in the travel and tourism sector, driven by a passion for adventure and the desire to help people make the memories of a lifetime. These dual motivations inspired Brian and fellow-founder Stu Kelly to create Uplift, a Buy Now, Pay Later platform that allows users to book their dream vacations now and pay over time in low monthly installments.
To date, Uplift has partnered with more than 200 of the world’s best travel brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Universal Studios, and United Airlines. These partnerships provide travelers with access to flexible payment options that make travel more affordable.
And unlike credit cards, users of Uplift avoid extra fees associated with early payoff and late penalties. The result? Uplift lets consumers book their preferred travel brands with confidence.
Here’s what you need to know about Uplift and why Brian chose Northern Nevada as a home base.
Supporting the Demand for Travel
After a year and a half of lockdowns, people are feeling the itch to travel once more. Statistics provided to Celeb by Uplift prove this. From Q4 of 2020 to Q1 of 2021, travel bookings increased by 61 percent. Over that same period, cruise ship bookings jumped by 35 percent, and 83 percent of individuals booked domestic flights. Huge spikes in international travel are also anticipated, and Uplift will be there every step of the way, providing consumers with the resources they need to take their bucket list ideas from fantasy to reality.
Uplift is also well-poised to support this intensified demand for travel. In 2014, Brian and Stu “founded Uplift with the mission to make travel more accessible, affordable, and rewarding for everyone. We empower consumers to book now through their favorite travel brands and spread the cost of their travel over low monthly installments, rather than having to pay the entire amount upfront.” Brian and Stu arrived on the scene before “Buy now, pay later” was a thing. Today, it marks one of the hottest trends in fintech, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down as the success of Uplift attests.
From Silicon Valley to Reno-Tahoe
What brought an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley to the Reno-Tahoe area? The Sierra Nevadas and Lake Tahoe proved a natural draw. As Brian explains, “Ever since I moved to the Bay Area, I have loved spending time in Tahoe. I love to ski and snowboard, and the summers are amazing with hiking, boating, and mountain biking. Fortunately, my girlfriend, fiancée, wife Gina loves Tahoe, too. So, we spent a lot of time in Tahoe together.”
But their love of the region has blossomed well beyond a great vacation spot. They’ve now put down firm roots in the area. “Once we decided to start a family, we decided that we’d like to raise our children in Tahoe, which has turned out to be a great decision. Our kids love the outdoors, have been getting a great education, and have a wonderful community of friends. Another bonus has been having a big yard for the kids to grow up and play in, which we probably wouldn’t have had in the Bay Area.”
Northern Nevada’s Fintech Scene
Since 2014, Uplift has expanded its operations into various geographies with access to favorable business environments and top talent. Northern Nevada fits this bill with its low cost of living, available talent, business tax structure, and countless local amenities, including easy access to the Bay Area and local ski resorts. Brian also notes that the commute in Reno takes just 15 minutes, and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport provides excellent connectivity without long lines. There’s no end to the outdoor activities available year-round as well as great entertainment and a maturing foodie scene.
Besides taking advantage of local talent pools, Uplift also actively recruits from outside the area. As Brian notes, “We offer candidates who are living in expensive markets like Boston, San Jose, and San Diego highly competitive salaries and benefits packages that are competitive with what tech companies in the Bay Area are offering but with the access to an extremely attractive cost of living in Reno. Couple that with the easy access to outdoor recreation, the resort amenities of Lake Tahoe, and a convenient airport, and it’s a strong selling proposition. We also just opened a beautiful new office space with features and perks employees are used to seeing in big tech markets.”
Start Your Best Life in Reno-Tahoe
As Brian points out, you can live your best life in Reno-Tahoe, surrounded by the sublime beauty of the Sierra Nevadas while still enjoying the amenities of a dynamic urban center. Northern Nevada’s fintech sector continues to expand, which means increased opportunities to enjoy the best the area has to offer. From easy commutes to the connectivity of an international airport and a business-friendly environment, it’s difficult to find these amenities in other metropolitan areas.
Are you interested in learning more about leading your best life in Reno-Tahoe? Read success stories from individuals just like you who decided to relocate to Northern Nevada to get out of the rat race and start thriving.
Engrid Barnett is an award-winning travel writer and digital content marketer based in Western Nevada. Recognized by the Nevada Press Association in 2019, her work has been featured in Nevada Magazine, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Tahoe South, Rova, American Trails, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.
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