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Neobank Upgrade Secures $40 Million Investment from Santander

In a round led by Santander InnoVentures, Upgrade, the San Francisco, California-based neobank co-launched by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche, has raised $40 million in new funding. The Series D round takes the company’s total funding to $202 million, and gives the neobank a valuation of $1 billion.

“We are thrilled to welcome Santander InnoVentures as a new shareholder,” said Laplanche, who is Upgrade’s CEO. “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.”

Also participating in the Series D were new investors Ventura Capital and Uncorrelated Ventures, as well as existing investors Union Square Ventures, Ribbit, Vy Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Opening its doors in 2017, Upgrade specializes in providing financing for mainstream consumers via its card and personal loan products. The company, which also provides free credit monitoring and financial education tools, has provided more than $3 billion in consumer credit via its solutions. More than ten million consumers have applied for either the company’s Upgrade card or loan.

“We’re excited to support Upgrade in their next stage of growth,” senior advisor at Santander InnoVentures Chris Gottschalk said. “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.”

In addition to helping drive growth at the company, the funding will support the upcoming launch of a new mobile banking product, the Upgrade Account. Named “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal for three years in a row, Upgrade launched its first contactless-enabled Upgrade Card – as well as a digital form of the card facilitate mobile payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay – in April.

Upgrade’s personal credit lines and personal loans are issued by partner Cross River Bank. The firm’s Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, via a license from Visa.

Photo by Quintin Gellar from Pexels