Upstart (company)

Upstart is an online lending marketplace that provides personal loans using non-traditional variables, such as education and employment, to predict creditworthiness.

Upstart Network Inc.
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Personal finance, Financial Technology
Available inEnglish
FoundedApril 2012
Area servedUnited States
Founder(s)Dave Girouard
Anna Counselman
Paul Gu
Current statusActive

The founding team includes Dave Girouard, former VP of Apps for Google, Paul Gu, a Thiel Fellow, and Anna Counselman, former Manager of Global Enterprise Customer Programs and Gmail Consumer Operations at Google.[1]

Upstart first launched in April 2012 with an Income Share Agreement (ISA) product, which enabled individuals to raise money by contracting to share a percent of their future income. In May 2014, Upstart pivoted away from this product and toward the personal loan marketplace.[2] With this pivot, Upstart began offering a traditional 3-year loan, and has since expanded to offer a 5-year loan product as well.

Upstart developed an income and default prediction model to determine creditworthiness of a potential borrower. This means that in addition to traditional underwriting criteria—FICO score, credit report, and income—the Upstart underwriting considers academic variables—colleges attended, area of study, GPA, and standardized test scores—and work history to develop a statistical model of the borrower's financial capacity and personal propensity to repay.[3]

Upstart raised a $1.75M seed round from First Round Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures, Crunchfund and Mark Cuban. They subsequently raised a series A round of $5.9M which included new investors Eric Schmidt (Google Executive Chairman), Marc Benioff, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, and Collaborative Fund.[1] Jessica Jackley and Bob Kerrey serve as advisors to the company. Upstart raised a Series C round of $35M from Third Point Capital in June 2015, and $32.5M from Rakuten in 2017. Upstart raised a Series D round of $50M from the The Progressive Corporation in 2019.

See also


  1. "About Upstart". Upstart. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  2. Ha, Anthony (August 8, 2014). "Former Google Executive Dave Girouard Launches Crowdfunding Service Upstart, Raises $1.75M". TechCrunch.
  3. Keohane, Dennis (April 29, 2014). "Upstart keeps innovating lending models to finance the young and ambitious". BetaBoston.
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