Entrepreneurial couple move young ventures to Spokane
Millers lead personal-finance platform; home-school book service from South Hill home following move from West Side
Erica BullockFebruary 16th, 2023
Husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Devin and Rebecca Miller have made a new home in Spokane to both raise their family and grow their businesses and professional careers after moving from Western Washington in April.
The Millers operate two companies, Secure Inc., which does business as SecureSave, and Two Acre Books LLC. The couple moved their family to Spokane about nine months after Rebecca Miller’s business partners moved here from the west side of the state, she says.
“We actually moved out here to Spokane and brought our family and our two companies with us,” says Devin Miller.
Devin Miller is the CEO of SecureSave, which provides a software technology platform to support employee emergency savings accounts through employer-provided benefit programs.
Rebecca Miller is the co-founder of Two Acre Books, along with her husband, neighbors Eric and Amanda Downing—who also moved from Western Washington to Spokane—and Rebecca’s father and entrepreneur Michael Buhrmann.
Devin Miller leads SecureSave from the family’s residence on Spokane’s South Hill.
SecureSave was founded in November 2020. Its main office is located in Kirkland, Washington.
Devin Miller says emergency savings accounts work similarly to a 529 college savings plan, a health savings account, or a 401(k)-retirement plan.
“They are very specific in design and purpose,” he explains. “The SECURE 2.0 Act that passed in December had some provisions around emergency savings accounts and made them into a much more defined new thing. It’s really just what it sounds like. It’s designed for short-term emergency savings.”
He says SecureSave has about 25 employees located throughout the U.S., and the company is hiring to fill another five to 10 positions this year.
“We are a fully remote workforce with people all around the country. We only have one person there in Kirkland … and that’s where our accounting team is,” he says.
The company’s executive leadership team operates from New York, Florida, Colorado, and Washington state, he adds.
Devin Miller says SecureSave is expecting significant user growth this year as “the interest in this new type of account is very high.”
“Right now, because of the passage of SECURE 2.0 legislation that specifically gives a big boost for emergency savings, we’re expecting 20 to 30 times growth this year, if not potentially more,” he claims. “It’s going to be pretty insane. Very large employers, like Fortune 100 companies, will be deploying emergency savings specifically with us this year.”
Devin Miller says SecureSave is a venture-backed company, but it isn’t focused on being profitable immediately.
Venture capital investors include Pioneer Square Labs, in Seattle; Tom Simpson, of Spokane-based Ignite Northwest; and Truist Financial, a financial institution based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“At this stage we’re more focused on growth and getting the company to a point of category leadership. And that’s what our investors and our board is focused on,” he says. “We’ve raised just under $15 million to date and are using that capital and working with these partners to rapidly grow and scale the business.”
SecureSave’s clients are employers, including Spokane-based intellectual property law firm Lee & Hayes PC, in addition to 401(k) recordkeepers, banks, and companies that serve businesses offering benefits programs.
He says employees that are unprepared for short-term emergencies have higher turnover rates, have lower productivity, are more distracted at work, and can cause more accidents, depending on their employers’ lines of business.
“Employers know this data and are looking for ways to improve the financial wellness and health of their employees and get them to participate and better use retirement plans,” Devin Miller says.
He says employees save an average of $400 within the first four months and $1,000 in the first year, adding that employees have access to their account at any time for any reason, and can withdraw funds without approval or permission.
He says users check their account often and withdrawal rates from individual accounts average about one in six months.
“That means they’re aware of it, but they don’t touch it, which is exactly what you want,” he says.
He says SecureSave has worked with dozens of companies and has signed up thousands of employees for emergency savings accounts.
Along with his duties as CEO of SecureSave, Devin Miller is also co-founder of the Miller family’s other business, Two Acre Books.
Rebecca Miller says Two Acre Books launched in 2019 to lend home-school materials to other families in need.
“We knew a lot of other families in the home-school community … and thought it would be nice to lend out to families looking for similar types of books,” she says.
Two Acre Books is a private children’s library that also offers subscription-based book boxes for families. The library and subscription book boxes are geared toward children from preschool to high school and the books are vetted to be compelling and informative, she says.
Subscription book boxes cost $10 a month for one box and private library membership rate is $25 monthly for families. Two Acre Books currently operates from the Millers’ South Hill home.
Rebecca Miller says, “We’re hoping one day to get a physical location, but it’s a side business for me, because I home-school our kids as well and support Devin so he can work on his business. We’re just growing it slowly.”
She adds that Two Acre Books’ growth is mostly through word of mouth and referrals from existing members, and while it’s not profitable yet, she says the business is able to cover its operating expenses.
“It’s not a big business, but it’s something for the community and a fun project and a way to get our kids involved in a business to see how it works and how it runs,” she says.
Rebecca Miller explains, “(Two Acre Books) is our fourth business together and both of our parents are entrepreneurs, so we really like the idea of letting (our kids) see what it takes to run a business.”
The Millers have six children, five of whom are currently home-schooled. Their eldest child attends a private high school in Spokane, she says.
The couple started an auto-detailing business in high school that they operated through college. After graduation, Rebecca Miller worked as a financial adviser for a few years, then founded Premier Payment Services LLC, a back-office service provider for financial advisers.
Devin Miller took over operations of Premier when the couple began having children. Then, the company evolved into a software platform dubbed Balance Financial, which they sold in 2013.
Devin Miller says that moving to live and work in Spokane has been a good opportunity for both himself and his family.
“We’re very excited to be in the Spokane community and look forward to raising our family here and investing in the community both personally and through our companies,” he says.