Online lender Upstart raises $32.5m

Online lender Upstart raises $32.5m

Upstart, a US online lender founded by a gaggle of former Googlers, has raised $32.5 million in a funding round led by Japan's Rakuten and an unnamed asset manager.

Existing investors Third Point Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and First Round Capital also participated in the round.

Upstart is one a host of alternative lenders to enter the US market in recent years, claiming to look beyond credit scores, using modern data science and technology to offer borrowers lower rates on loans of between $1000 and $50,000.

Launching next-day funding in 2014, the firm has now originated more than 50,000 loans, and claims "the highest consumer rating in the industry".

With more than 20% of loans through the platform completely automated, Upstart is aiming to originate $1 billion this year. It is also on the verge of carrying out its first loan securitisation transaction.

In addition, CEO Dave Girouard tells TechCrunch that he is planning to start licensing Upstart's technology to banks and retailers.

And, as it looks to expand, the startup has brought in another former Googler, Sanjay Datta, as CFO. Datta was VP of global advertising finance at Google where he spent a decade building and expanding Google’s $80B core economic engine.

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