LendUp has built business providing personal loans to customers that traditional financial institutions wouldn’t touch. As it looks to expand into credit cards and other services, the company has raised some strategic funding from PayPal and also has expanded its executive ranks.
LendUp wants to provide better financial products for the people who most need them, serving a demographic that most banks ignore, or worse, charge exorbitant fees to use their services. It’s a group the LendUp team likes to call “the emerging middle class,” and the company hopes to give them tools to help them get out of debt, save money and overall just become more financially successful.
Its message and methods resonated with PayPal, which, according to LendUp CEO Sasha Orloff, shares a lot of the same vision and also serves many of the same customers. Orloff says the funding came as a result of his relationship with PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, who he got to know while Schulman was at American Express.
“We liken this a lot to what Amex did for wealthy business traveler, [LendUp] could do for different customer,” Orloff said, adding that Schulman has a passion for financial inclusion and LendUp’s approach.
On the investment front, PayPal has become more active in the last year or so. The company made a strategic bet on retail investing app Acorns, as well as Pulsate and Viva Republica.
In addition to the funding, LendUp is announcing a series of additions and promotions within its management team. Leading that list is the announcement that Carrie Dolan, CFO of Metromile and former CFO of Lending Club, is joining as a board advisor. Dolan also served as treasurer of Charles Schwab Corp. and was CFO of Schwab Bank, which she helped launch in 2003.
The company promoted Vijesh Iyer, who previously spent 15 years at PayPal and Capital One, to its COO position. It also hired former PayPal exec Mandeep Walia as its chief compliance officer, added former Lending Club and Schwab exec Jordan Olivier as VP of Finance, and brought on former PwC and Schwab exec Karry Bryan as VP and controller.
So that’s a lot of people from traditional banking institutions. What would make them want to work for a startup, and, more importantly, one that’s actually doing good in the world?
“I think the common theme amongst everybody is… when you’ve built a career in financial services, you realize the change that software can do,” Orloff told me.
Add in a mission-driven streak, and he believes LendUp is recruiting people who want to see better financial services in the world. After all, as Orloff said, “We pay more than a non-profit and much less than a bank, so it takes the right type of person.”