US online lending power Upgrade to open Montreal office, hiring 75


San Francisco-based online lending company Upgrade will open a new development centre in Montréal. The company expects to hire 75 people within two years.

Upgrade is a large player in the online lending space, powering a platform that combines personal loans with free credit monitoring.  The company launched in April 2017 and raised $60 million in Series A funding – the largest ever Series A investment in a US fintech company at the time. Upgrade was named a “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco and Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2018.

Now the company has raised another US $62 million, marking its Series C funding.

“We’ve just closed a $62 million equity financing that will enable continued investments in product, credit analytics, compliance and risk management across the company including the Montréal office,” said Renaud Laplanche, the French-American co-founder and CEO of Upgrade. ‘’We are convinced that Montréal’s vibrant technology culture and engineering talent pool will contribute to strengthen Upgrade’s technology and product DNA.’’

The company says 75 more engineers will join the 25 existing team members in Montreal over the next 24 months. They’ll collaborate with Montréal-based design firm ACDF to customize its 14,000-square-foot downtown office space. Moreover, the California-based Upgrade employs over 300 team members, with an operations center in Phoenix, Arizona and technology centres in Chicago and now, Montreal.

“Greater Montréal has the highest concentration of high-tech jobs in Canada and stands out for its sizeable and thriving financial sector,” said Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International. “Upgrade will find here all the talent and expertise to boost its capacity for innovation while helping position the region as a key fintech player.”

“Companies in new technology sectors play a major role in Montréal and we are proud to have Upgrade join this burgeoning ecosystem,” said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal. “Our talent pool and our quality of life are big draws that attract high value-added businesses such as Upgrade. And knowing that a hundred quality jobs will be created here is very positive for our flourishing economy.”

“Montréal features a great talent pool with top-notch expertise in diverse technology fields including big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain,” added Laplanche. “As we continue to innovate and craft new consumer credit products and experiences, we believe the Montréal engineering talent is ideally suited to our efforts.”

Upgrade has raised $142 million in equity capital since inception in 2016 from investors including Apoletto, CreditEase Fintech Fund, FirstMark Capital, NOAH, Ribbit, Sands Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Union Square Ventures and Vy Capital. The Upgrade platform has facilitated over $1 billion in originations of affordable consumer loans since inception.

(Main photo: BizJournals.com)

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