Upgrade Closes $40 Million Series D Round Led by Santander InnoVentures
Global Bank Joins Leading Fintech Investors Backing Credit-led Neobank Model
San Francisco - June 17, 2020
Upgrade, Inc., a neobank that offers affordable and responsible credit to mainstream consumers, today announced it received a $40 million investment as part of its Series D round led by Santander InnoVentures, the venture capital fund of Santander Group, one of the world’s largest banks.
Existing investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit, Vy Capital and Silicon Valley Bank and new investors Ventura Capital and Uncorrelated Ventures also participated in the round, bringing total funding since inception to $200 million.
Over the last three years since Upgrade launched in 2017, more than 10 million consumers have applied for an Upgrade card or loan. Upgrade has already delivered over $3 billion in credit, growing at a triple-digit annual rate.
“We're excited to support Upgrade in their next stage of growth,” said Chris Gottschalk, senior advisor at Santander InnoVentures, who will be joining the Upgrade board. “Upgrade is building a neobank with credit at its heart, which we believe is a smart strategy as credit represents 70% of banking revenue globally and is often the main reason customers seek banking services.”
The investment will fuel the continued growth of Upgrade Card, an innovative credit card that brings the low cost and responsible credit of installment lending to millions of retail locations in the U.S., and the upcoming launch of Upgrade Account, a mobile banking product offering exceptional value to mainstream consumers.
“We are thrilled to welcome Santander InnoVentures as a new shareholder,” said Upgrade co-founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche. “Our strategy of partnering with banks and credit unions of all sizes is delivering tremendous value to our partners and customers, and we are delighted to add one of the world’s largest banks to our partner roster.”
Santander InnoVentures has invested in over 30 fintech companies after being established six years ago. The latest investment emphasizes the fund’s interest in the Americas, after previously investing in US-based companies such as alternative insurer Blueprint Title, primary issuance platform Securitize, commerce platform AutoFi, digital mortgage software platform Roostify, amongst others.
This investment also reiterates Santander InnoVentures’s commitment to innovation and investing in all aspects of the financial services value chain. Financial Technology Partners LP and FTP Securities LLC (FT Partners) served as the exclusive financial and strategic advisor to Upgrade in this transaction.
Upgrade is a neobank that offers affordable and responsible credit to mainstream consumers through cards and personal loans, together with free credit monitoring and education tools that help consumers better understand and manage their finances. Upgrade has delivered over $3 billion in consumer credit through cards and loans since launch in 2017. Upgrade is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with an operations center in Phoenix, Arizona, and a technology center in Montreal, Canada. Personal credit lines and personal loans are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender and Blue Ridge Bank, National Association. Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. More information is available at: https://www.upgrade.com.
About Santander InnoVentures
Santander InnoVentures is Santander Group’s corporate venture capital fund. It invests in fintech startups and adjacent verticals to accelerate their growth, helping entrepreneurs and their teams, and supporting them with capital, scale and Santander's expertise. Since launching in 2014, InnoVentures has invested in over 30 companies, making it one of the most active bank-backed fintech corporate ventures in the world.
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