Upstart Raises $50M and Announces New Bank Partnerships

Dave Girouard

Upstart News & Insights,

We founded Upstart, the leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, to make affordable credit available to more of the world. To further this mission, we’re excited to announce that we raised $50M from Progressive Investment Company Inc., Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and First National Bank of Omaha.

With our Series D completed, we’ve raised a total of $160M since inception and are proud to have more than $100M in cash and equity capital on hand. Additionally, Upstart will be the newest offering in the Progressive portfolio of Advantage Products, which are third-party products offered to meet consumers’ changing needs. Upstart loans will be available through www.progressive.com in the near future.

Why we do what we do

We started on this journey because credit is not just a cornerstone of our economy but a fundamental ingredient in the lives of Americans. For hundreds of years, credit has represented opportunity and mobility for those seeking what’s next in their lives. Whether it’s to learn a new skill, to relocate to a new city, to start a new business, or to buy a new home or car, the price of credit is the price of opportunity and mobility. It’s the price of what’s next.

Furthermore, credit is generally overpriced and unfairly distributed, because it relies on techniques developed before the advent of modern computing. But technology and data science, in the form of AI, have the opportunity to change all of that.

How have we done so far?

After more than $3.3B in loans originated in the last five years, we’ve demonstrated loss rates less than half those of peer platforms for borrowers with similar FICO scores. Furthermore, a study comparing Upstart’s model to those of several large US banks showed that Upstart could cut their loan losses by three-quarters or almost triple their approval rates.*

When our models demonstrate lower losses over time, it means we’re able to approve even more borrowers at lower rates. This is how AI is improving access to affordable credit every day.

Fortunately, our business has thrived as well. Thus far in 2019, more than 60% of Upstart originations were entirely automated and approved in real-time, an unprecedented feat in our industry. On the back of strong unit economics and exceptional credit performance, Upstart grew revenues by about 80% in 2018 and reached profitability in the second half of the year.

Partnering with Like-Minded Banks

We decided a couple of years ago that Upstart could maximize its impact on the world not by becoming a new-age bank, but by powering banks looking to thrive in an industry that’s changing overnight. We launched our first bank partnerships with Customers Bank and its BankMobile division. Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve signed “Powered by Upstart” agreements with First National Bank of Omaha, First Federal Bank of Kansas City, and Accion Chicago. With Powered by Upstart, banks and other lenders can leverage Upstart’s AI platform in the form of a white-labeled lending application to power their own lending programs. The Powered by Upstart platform allows banks and other lenders to enforce their own credit policy and lending terms while benefiting from Upstart’s patent-pending risk modeling and automation.

Where we go from here

Personal loans are the fastest growing segment of credit, but they’re far from the largest. So we’re pleased that our recent equity raise will allow us to bring our AI platform to other flavors of credit. In fact, we’ve just launched the first ever Upstart-powered credit cards with Customers Bank’s BankMobile division – the BankMobile Classic Mastercard and the BankMobile Rewards Mastercard – both available now via online application.

We’re also rapidly growing our team, quickly hiring the best and brightest software engineers, data scientists, and operations experts in our shiny new home in Columbus, Ohio as well as in our Silicon Valley headquarters.

We’ll be at the LendIt Conference in San Francisco on April 8 – 9th. I will be on stage with Marc Butterfield, SVP at First National Bank of Omaha, on Tuesday at noon talking about innovation in consumer lending. Please drop by or contact us at upstart.com/poweredby if you want to meet up!

*Based on a 2018 study completed by Upstart, using information provided by several banks.