New consumer credit platform Upgrade, Inc. has announced the launch of a new consumer credit platform that combines a marketplace lending approach with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit. The company has incorporated blockchain technology to build risk management, servicing operations, compliance management system and internal controls. It will use blockchain protocol to enhance data integrity by creating time-stamped, immutable transaction records.
Renaud Laplanche, Upgrade co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are excited to introduce innovations that help consumers better understand their credit potential, unlock that potential and obtain more affordable credit,”
Upgrade started operations in August 2016 and closed its Series A round of financing in March, raising $60 million in equity and convertible notes from investors including Apoletto, Credit Ease, FirstMark Capital, Noah Holdings, Ribbit Capital, Sands Capital Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Union Square Ventures, Uprising and Vy Capital.
Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures, Fred Wilson remarked: “We are thrilled to be backing Renaud again, after having worked alongside him at Lending Club for many years. We trust his judgment and integrity, and we think he’s assembled a fantastic team at Upgrade,”
Frank Sands, co-founder of Sands Capital Ventures, said: “Renaud is a great entrepreneur who works tirelessly to innovate and create value for his customers, partners, employees and shareholders,” “We all think that the marketplace lending model can be expanded to new products and ultimately be more helpful to more people,”
All loans originated through the Upgrade platform are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC. Upgrade will acquire loans from WebBank, retain a representative portion of those loans on its balance sheets and offer whole loans for sale to institutional investors. Personal loans are available through the Upgrade website currently, whereas credit monitoring, alerts and education features will launch in coming weeks.