Dan Price
Thanks to gravity
Dan Price With every blast or pop, Dan Price crouched deeper in the closet. His hand sheltered the phone from the sound of his roommate’s video games. On the other line, the owner of a major auto dealership listened to Dan’s pitch to process millions of dollars in credit card sales. Dan prayed the man wouldn’t guess that his small company’s headquarters was his freshman dorm room at Seattle Pacific University.

Now, five years later, Gravity Payments is the largest credit card processor in the Pacific Northwest, employing about 40 people. Dan graduated in 2008 with a self-designed major in music, communication, and business. After putting most of his earnings back into the company, Dan has already paid off 75 percent of his student loans.

“Paying for school was my number-one goal,” says Dan, who also received grants and scholarships from SPU. “That, and making sure my business was stable.” In high school, Dan consulted with small businesses to help them renegotiate their credit card processing fees in Nampa, Idaho. He was saving money for college, but became concerned with how companies in the credit card processing industry treated their employees and small-business customers.

A year later, he and his older brother used their savings to start Gravity Payments. The company gives 10 percent of its profits to charities, pays employees well, and is upfront and transparent with customers. The business has doubled each year, and Dan and his wife, Kristie, believe in modest living as a choice, rather than a necessity. When the company began, Dan was working 14 hours a day — plus going to class, doing homework, and dating Kristie. Sometimes being a full-time student and a CEO was tough, but Dan didn’t want to quit Seattle Pacific.

“School was never about a job or a salary,” he says. “I did it for the joy of learning.”

Did you know? Dan Price has used his convictions about simple living to help pay for college quickly. Two of the books that have inspired him the most are Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Millionaire Next Door.

View All Students

By Julia Siemens, Illustration by Keith Negley, Photos By Nick Onken and Mike Siegel
Want more stories about Real Life at SPU? Look in our archives.