Seth Priebatsch of LevelUp on Transparency, Big Companies, and Company Culture

The battle between startups and corporations is a myth. While business is always a competition for more customers, attention, and capital, there is no inherent beef between a company that’s just starting out and one that is well-established in their market. Startups help corporations stay nimble and in the front lines of consumer trends. Corporations support startups through the tough times and mentor them during their growth cycles. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja at LevelUp.

If you haven’t heard of LevelUp, this five-year-old startup is partnering with Chase on the Chase Pay app, the company’s mobile payments product. With advanced technology that allows customers to order food ahead of time to avoid the lines, LevelUp and Chase Pay are aiming to transform the way you think about payments. Now in select cities including Dallas, Chase Pay app users can save $5 the first time ordering ahead from participating restaurants. Also, the two are helping restaurants large and small be ready for mobile payments, helping them grow their business through order ahead, offers, and customer analytics.

At Dallas Startup Week, Seth sat down with Jen Roberts, the head of Chase Pay and digital products at Chase, to talk about his entrepreneurial journey. They touched on the value of transparency, the importance of great team building, and everything in between.

How to Interview

If you ask an entrepreneur what the key to success is, they’ll almost always say it’s the team. Having a qualified group of employees that understand the mission and work hard to achieve it is the only real way to make sure you’re set up for success. So how do you hire a great team? You have to interview the right way.

“In the hiring we’ve done, we try to spend half of our time in the  interview answering questions rather than asking them. When we do that, people that accept the job end up really know what they’re getting into, which has worked out pretty well for us.”

When people know what they’re doing and can properly predict how things are going to go, they’re a lot less wary about their future at their company. And if retention matters to you, this method of interviewing is going to go a long way.

“People who are doing a great job are happy and they stay.”

The Value of Transparency

When building a company, having an honest and trustworthy relationship with employees is key to a sustainable company culture. Seth took this to heart when it came to starting his company, employing a transparency policy that takes things to the next level.

“One of the things that LevelUp works hard to do is practice what we preach through radical transparency. Everyone agrees that transparency is a good thing. One of the things we like to do is take that to its logical extreme. If you work at LevelUp and it’s your first day, whether you’re an intern or if you’ve been there since the beginning, you get access to a real-time database of every transaction running through our system.”

Building a Relationship With Chase

Sure, Seth was participating in a chat led by Chase, but this is a great example of how strong and authentic the relationship is. Because when it comes to working with big corporations, startups can tap into their large network, experience and work through challenges of growing a business.

If you’re interested in checking out the full fireside chat with Seth, watch it below:

Read all our coverage of Dallas Startup Week here on Tech.Co.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at
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