Our Story

Founded by ex-Googlers in 2012, Upstart is based on a simple idea: access to capital on fair and reasonable terms is essential to building a rewarding and successful career.

Too many people are unable to make the best decisions for their careers because they lack the necessary funding. What if “upstarts” could borrow from their future selves, with their earning potential effectively serving as collateral? We’ve built a funding marketplace designed to provide people early in their careers with a slice of economic freedom so they can start a business, learn a new skill, or just pay off their student loans. The money comes from backers, who can also provide career advice, introductions or just the occasional cheer from the sidelines.

Teampicmar2013

A New Way to Access Capital

Upstart agreements are often called “Income Share Agreements” or ISAs, where repayment is defined as a small and pre-determined fraction of earned income, rather than a fixed monthly dollar amount. ISAs aren’t new - and their popularity is growing. There’s even a bill in congress to make ISAs the standard for federal student loans. The reason is obvious: income share agreements are designed to be affordable at all times. When you earn less, you pay less, and when you earn more, you pay more. And with Upstart, your funding comes from experienced backers who are motivated to help you succeed on whatever path you choose.

A New Way to Invest

Upstart is the first platform that enables you to literally invest in a person and their future earning potential. Investing in startups is risky because most of them fail. But talented people tend to succeed over time. And historically, wages are very sticky despite macroeconomic conditions - making them an appealing asset class. Investing on Upstart is about more than earning a return on your money - it’s about making an impact on someone’s career and engaging in their personal journey.

Our Team

We’re a small and diverse team that is passionate about the company’s mission and culture. We aim to create a service that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of its members and on the US economy overall. Our goal is to facilitate the creation of a million new businesses in the US over the next decade.

Dave Girouard
Dave Girouard
Dave Girouard
Dave founded Upstart after 8 years at Google where he was President of Google Enterprise and VP of Apps. Dave graduated from Dartmouth College with an AB in Engineering Sciences and a BE in Computer Engineering. He also received an MBA from the Ross School at the University of Michigan with High Distinction.
Fun Fact
As a child, Dave flooded his neighbor’s house by attempting to build a hockey rink in his backyard.
Paul Gu
Paul Gu
Paul Gu
Paul co-founded Upstart as an inaugural member of Peter Thiel’s 20under20 Fellowship. Previously, he worked on the risk team at D.E. Shaw Group, built his own automated statistical trading strategies on Interactive Brokers API, and created several web apps. Paul was a computer science and economics double major at Yale University.
Fun Fact
Paul scored at the 10th percentile on a pitch test, but loves to happily karaoke to Celine Dion.
Anna Mongayt
Anna Mongayt
Anna Mongayt
Anna co-founded Upstart after 5 years at Google where she ran global Enterprise Customer Programs and Gmail Consumer Operations. Previously, Anna held a variety of operations roles at McMaster Carr and several startups. Anna graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston University with a BA in Finance and Entrepreneurship.
Fun Fact
Anna once spent 45 minutes discussing digital rights management practices with Tom Cruise.
Alison Nicoll
Alison Nicoll
Alison Nicoll
Alison spent the last 10 years at innovative financial services companies, including a start-up in the prepaid card space and most recently at PayPal managing their North America legal team. She got her law degree from the University of Glasgow (in Scotland), and her Masters of Law from Columbia Law School.
Fun Fact
Alison climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Jeff Keltner
Jeff Keltner
Jeff Keltner
Jeff spent 6 years at Google where he launched and ran the Google Apps for Education business and supported Google’s overall Enterprise business. Prior to Google, Jeff worked at IBM and led the UI engineering team at SSB Technologies. Jeff has a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
Fun Fact
Jeff likes to wear crazy socks - but they have to match his shirt...
Jonathan Eng
Jonathan Eng
Jonathan Eng
Jonathan joins Upstart from Google, where he helped develop and launch the Knowledge Graph on Google Search. Prior to Google, he served as CTO of an online apparel company that he founded with high school friends. Jonathan is a Yale University graduate with a BS in Computer Science.
Fun Fact
Jonathan’s dream is to be backed by Tim Ferriss.
Cindy Chin Smith
Cindy Chin Smith
Cindy Chin Smith
Cindy joins Upstart with over 7 years of operations experience including more than 5 years at Google in Enterprise operations. Following Google she managed the sales support team at The Climate Corporation. Cindy is a Boston University graduate with a BA in Management Information Systems and Finance.
Fun Fact
Cindy loves to run!
Vishal Maini
Vishal Maini
Vishal Maini
Vishal joined Upstart after receiving his BA in Economics from Yale. During college, he worked as an analyst with Altman Vilandrie & Company, a boutique consulting firm specializing in tech, media, and telecom. He also spent a summer working with the SoundTracking team as part of True Ventures' summer fellowship program.
Fun Fact
Vishal is a DJ, and once opened on stage for Lupe Fiasco after a performance by Third Eye Blind.
Jenny Lin
Jenny Lin
Jenny Lin
Jenny joins Upstart from FamilyLeaf, where she was responsible for UI design and front-end development. She previously spent 2 years with Google DoubleClick rich media advertising. Jenny has a BFA in Fine Arts and BA in Information Science from Cornell University, and a MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts.
Fun Fact
Jenny has a cat named Bella.
Brigitte Bradford
Brigitte Bradford
Brigitte Bradford
Brigitte joins Upstart from Sparkpr where she developed, implemented, and analyzed PR and marketing campaigns for a variety of innovative clients. Previously, she worked for Kiva where she was responsible for their blog and social media content and strategy. Brigitte is a Northeastern University graduate with a BS in Psychology and Political Science.
Fun Fact
Brigitte spent a month in rural Tanzania teaching english to a classroom of 60 children.
Andrew Bezzub
Andrew Bezzub
Andrew Bezzub
Andrew joins Upstart with over 9 years of experience in software engineering. Prior to Upstart he was at Microsoft, and helped to develop the Mediaroom TV platform. Andrew moved to the US from Ukraine after he spent 7 years at innovative software companies. Andrew received his BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics.
Fun Fact
Andrew spent 10 years practicing martial arts and has a black belt in taekwondo.
Ryan Randall
Ryan Randall
Ryan Randall
Ryan joins Upstart after 10 years as an institutional investor, most recently as an Investment Officer with the Fairfax County Retirement System and a Sector Analyst and the Director of Public Policy at Passport Capital LLC. Prior to that he worked at E*TRADE, which he joined upon the acquisition of the company he founded. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, holds the CFA and CAIA charters and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Fun Fact
Ryan started his career as a ball boy at the age of 7, "working" for different football teams where his father was the Head Coach.
Simon Lepkin
Simon Lepkin
Simon Lepkin
Simon joins Upstart after earning his Master's in Mathematics at SUNY Binghamton. While there, he scaled his department's online homework/exam system to manage more than 1000 students per semester. He recently graduated from App Academy, where he fell in love with O/R Mapping.
Fun Fact
As a child, Simon learned about electricity by shoving a pewter figurine into a power outlet. A couple years later, he tried it again, with similar results. With n=2, he can now confidently predict the results of this experiment.
Viraj Navkal
Viraj Navkal
Viraj Navkal
Viraj joins Upstart after earning his PhD in Mathematics from UCLA, where he conducted research at the intersection of commutative algebra and algebraic K-theory. Viraj also holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Mathematics and Physics and developed software for scientific research.
Fun Fact
Viraj loves persimmons and eagerly looks forward to persimmon season every year.

Our Advisors and Investors

We aim to build a big and successful business, founded on the principle of serving others. We're thrilled to have an incredible team of investors and advisors to help us do that.

Advisors


Bob Kerrey
Bob Kerrey
Former Governor, Nebraska
Jessica Jackley
Jessica Jackley
Co-Founder, Kiva

Investors


Andy Palmer
Andy Palmer
Serial Entrepreneur
Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt
Executive Chairman, Google
Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban
Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff
Founder & CEO, Salesforce
Joe Liemandt
Joe Liemandt
Founder & CEO, Trilogy
Scott Banister
Scott Banister
Founder, IronPort