Renaud Laplanche’s new lending platform has now raised a grand total of $142m.
The investment was led by CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, the venture investment arm of Chinese fintech conglomerate CreditEase. The fund also holds stakes in blockchain firm Circle and small business lender Funding Circle, and has invested the equivalent of more than $1bn to date. All major existing investors also participated in the round, including Apoletto, FirstMark Capital, Ribbit and Silicon Valley Bank.
By his own admission, Upgrade is Laplanche’s attempt to evolve the online lending concept that he helped shape during a decade at the helm of Lending Club. In an interview with AltFi earlier this year, he described Upgrade as a ‘version 2.0’ platform.
His vision is to combine credit products with monitoring and education tools, giving users a better understanding of their financial standing. In April, the firm launched its new personal credit lines, which Laplanche hopes will come to replace credit cards. The product is designed to combine the regularity and relative low cost of a loan with the flexibility of a line of credit.
The fresh injection of cash from CreditEase will be used to fuel product innovation and expansion.
“The new capital will enable continued investments in product, credit analytics, compliance, risk management and expansion of our San Francisco, Phoenix, Montreal and Chicago offices,” said Laplanche. “We are seeing a growing desire from consumers to better understand their overall credit situation and to learn to make great financial decisions that give them access to more affordable credit. This encourages us to keep building responsible consumer credit products that fit these trends.”
Upgrade raised $60m in a Series A round at the time of its launch, comprised of $48m in equity and $12m in convertible notes. The $62m Series C round includes the conversion of all previously issued convertible notes.
Now in its sixth year, the AltFi London Summit returns on 18th March 2019 to 155 Bishopsgate. Last year proved to be a crucial turning point for the key players building the future of finance. Leading platforms launched oversubscribed IPOs, digital banks proliferated and mainstream financial institutions started their own disruptive propositions. With 2019 certain to be another landmark year, more questions will be asked by regulators with investor interest in disruption also poised for more rapid growth.