October 29, 2020
Funding U, a financial technology company serving high-performing, underrepresented college students, has closed a $14 million debt/equity round and has added Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group to its roster of credit providers, with a $10 million line of credit. Investors providing $4 million in equity include Deciens Capital, Valor Ventures, MacKenzie Scott, Next Act Fund LLC and The JumpFund.
The equity investment and the credit facility from Goldman Sachs will scale operations and provide “last gap” loans, credit education and career networking for more than 1,500 career-focused students attending four-year colleges in the US. Funding U’s innovative lending platform and AI analytics use academic and earnings data to provide responsibly priced products to borrowers whose parents can’t or prefer not to co-sign a loan.
“Traditional student loan decisions at banks are made based on co-signer FICO. This practice shuts out millions of historically underrepresented students seeking $3,000-10,000 loans every year to cover the last mile of college costs after financial aid, small-cap federal loans and grants,“ says Jeannie Tarkenton, CEO & Co-Founder of Funding U. “Accessing a college degree is proven to increase earnings by $1 million over a lifetime, as well as stabilize employment in times of recession. Our borrowers and portfolio outcomes to date have proven that academic success, employability and earnings potential should be the factors that assess the risk of a student loan – not simply FICO scores or parent income level.”
Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group has committed more than $9.5 billion since 2001 to underserved communities. “Rooted in our investment strategy of providing capital to close the opportunity gap for often-overlooked people and places, we are proud to partner with Funding U to expand their model of providing a path for high-achieving students with limited financial resources to pursue their dream of attending and graduating from college,” says Margaret Anadu, Managing Director and Head of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
Founded in 2016 in Georgia and operating nationally since 2018, Funding U has, to date, originated $6.1M in loans to 690 students enrolled in colleges and universities across the U.S. Nearly 40% of these borrowers are first-generation college students. The Company utilizes its proprietary SMaRT scoring software to provide loans that students earn based on hard work, tenacity and focus , not based on the income level or credit score of a loan co-signer.
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