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AI Lender Upstart Raises $50M and Announces New Bank Partnerships

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Upstart, the leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, today announced a $50M equity investment from Progressive Investment Company Inc., Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and First National Bank of Omaha.

Upstart has raised more than $160M since inception and has more than $100M in cash and equity capital on hand. Additionally, Upstart will be the newest offering in the Progressive portfolio of Advantage Products, which are third-party products offered to meet consumers’ changing needs. Upstart loans will be available through www.progressive.com in the near future.

“We started on this journey because credit is not just a cornerstone of our economy but a fundamental ingredient in the lives of Americans,” said Dave Girouard, Upstart co-founder and CEO and former president of Google Enterprise. “For hundreds of years, credit has represented opportunity and mobility for those seeking what’s next in their lives. Whether it’s to learn a new skill, to relocate to a new city, to start a new business, or to buy a new home or car, the price of credit is the price of opportunity and mobility. It’s the price of what’s next.”

Upstart co-founder Paul Gu added, “Credit is generally overpriced and unfairly distributed, because it relies on techniques developed before the advent of modern computing. But technology and data science, in the form of AI, have the opportunity to change all of that.”

After more than $3.3B in loans originated in the last five years, Upstart has demonstrated loss rates less than half those of peer platforms for borrowers with similar FICO scores. Furthermore, a study comparing Upstart’s model to those of several large U.S. banks showed that Upstart could cut their loan losses by three-quarters or almost triple their approval rates.*

Thus far in 2019, more than 60% of Upstart originations were entirely automated and approved in real time, an unprecedented feat in installment lending. On the back of strong unit economics and exceptional credit performance, Upstart grew revenues by about 80% in 2018 and reached profitability in the second half of the year.

Upstart’s business is designed not to compete with banks but to partner with them. Upstart launched its first partnerships with Customers Bank and its BankMobile division. Today, the company announced it has signed “Powered by Upstart” partnership agreements with First National Bank of Omaha, First Federal Bank of Kansas City and Accion Chicago. With Powered by Upstart, banks and other lenders can leverage Upstart’s AI platform in the form of a white-labeled lending application to power their own lending programs. The Powered by Upstart platform allows banks and other lenders to enforce their own credit policy and lending terms while benefiting from Upstart’s patent-pending risk modeling and automation.

“We chose to partner with Upstart because their approach to modernizing lending is well aligned with FNBO’s focus on a customer-centric experience,” said Marc Butterfield, senior vice president of enterprise digital solutions and emerging business at First National Bank of Omaha. “Upstart’s AI/ML-based pricing engine and automation will allow us to profitably serve a broader set of customers, within a great digital onboarding experience, than we could before.”

“Our mission at First Federal Bank of Kansas City is to help people build a better financial future,” said J.R. Buckner, president and CEO of First Federal Bank of Kansas City. “Fulfilling this mission means we must find innovative new ways to more effectively engage with current and prospective customers. Our partnership with Upstart is a key part of this strategy and will allow us to extend our products and services to a broader customer base that is more digitally savvy.”

“Accion Chicago’s mission is to help neighborhood entrepreneurs grow, which is why we provide our low-cost microloans to minority- and women-owned businesses who create jobs and wealth in underserved communities throughout Illinois and Indiana,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion Chicago. “We believe that partnering with Upstart is the most creative, careful, and cost-effective way to lend to these inspirational small business owners that other lenders overlook.”

While personal loans are the fastest growing segment of credit, they’re far from the largest. With this equity round completed, Upstart expects to expand its AI platform to other types of credit. The company recently launched the first ever Upstart-powered credit cards with Customers Bank’s BankMobile division. Upstart partnered with BankMobile to develop two credit cards: the BankMobile Classic Mastercard and the BankMobile Rewards Mastercard, both available now via online application.

“We were excited to partner with Upstart as their vision of making credit more accessible aligns with our focus on low-cost banking services to low/middle-income Americans who have been left behind by the high-fee model of ‘traditional’ banks,” stated Luvleen Sidhu, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile. “Upstart’s focus on automating the customer experience combined with their modeling capabilities further our goal of adding breadth to our growing banking products and services available to our customer base.”

Upstart CEO Dave Girouard will be on stage with Marc Butterfield, SVP from First National Bank of Omaha, at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 at LendIt Fintech USA 2019, taking place in San Francisco, California.

 

SOURCE Upstart

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Suning Finance Receives AAA Rating for Domestic Credit

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On February 14th, Suning Finance entered the ranks of the highest domestic credit rating for the first time. Its long-term credit rating was determined as AAA, and its rating outlook was “stable”. Currently, only 52 private enterprises nationwide have received AAA ratings. It means that Suning Finance has obtained the same credit rating as large state-owned commercial banks and national joint-stock commercial banks.

Regarding the above decision, United Credit believes that Suning Finance has a strong shareholder background and capital strength. After years of development, it has now established a diversified financial main business structure, relying on the resource advantages of the Suning ecosystem and the omni-channel layout of O2O integration. The financial business scale and income continued to grow rapidly.

As a pioneer of online-to-offline (O2O) finance in China, Suning Finance is positioned as a fintech company featuring O2O integration and development. It has always adhered to and practiced the development model of “scenario finance + fintech = inclusive finance”, focusing on supply chain finance, commercial finance, consumer finance, payments, wealth management, and fintech export “5 + 1” core businesses.

In 2019, Suning Finance successfully completed the C round of tens of billions of financing, the post-investment valuation reached 56 billion, the transaction volume exceeded the trillion marks for three consecutive years, and the number of active customers exceeded 70 million. Suning Pay daily offline scan code breakthrough 100,000 transactions, the supply chain financial investment exceeded 100 billion. And has successfully obtained 2 international syndicated loans, and successively issued 6 phases of supply chain finance ABS and 1 phase of consumer finance ABS, which fully demonstrates that Suning Finance’s business capabilities, asset quality, and market reputation have been highly recognized by domestic and foreign financial institutions.

Based on the root ‘innovative financial technology leads the development’, Suning Finance keeps enhancing its technological capabilities, especially the block chain techs to apply in many scenarios, such as data sharing, payment, mortgage and BaaS. In the future, Suning Finance will continue to provide premium financial services and operate under the concept of integrity, stable and discretion to become a reliable and widely influential comprehensive financial service company.

 

SOURCE Suning Holdings Group

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in Opera Limited of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – OPRA

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Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Opera Limited (“Opera” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:  OPRA) and certain of its officers.  The class action, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and indexed under 20-cv-00674, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons and entities other than Defendants who purchased or otherwise acquired: (a) Opera American depositary shares (“ADSs”) pursuant and/or traceable to the Company’s initial public offering commenced on or about July 27, 2018 (the “IPO” or “Offering”); and/or (b) Opera securities between July 27, 2018 and January 15, 2020, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”).  Plaintiff pursues claims against the Defendants under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).

If you are a shareholder who purchased Opera securities pursuant and/or traceable to the IPO and/or during the Class Period, you have until March 24, 2020, to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com.   To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.

[Click here for information about joining the class action]

Opera was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway.  The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides mobile and Personal Computer web browser applications in IrelandRussia, and internationally, under the Opera Mini, Opera for Android, Opera Touch, and Opera for Computers brand names. 

Opera has also increasingly invested in its fintech businesses, providing mobile loan and financing applications marketed to KenyaNigeria, and India, under the OKash, OPesa, CashBean, and OPay brand names, which are offered on Google LLC’s (“Google”) Play Store marketplace, as downloadable applications.

On August 9, 2018, Opera completed its IPO, issuing 9,600,000 ADSs priced at $12.00 per share, raising approximately $115.2 million in proceeds before underwriting discounts and commissions, and other expenses.

The Complaint alleges that the offering documents were negligently prepared and, as a result, contained untrue statements of material fact or omitted to state other facts necessary to make the statements made not misleading and were not prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations governing their preparation.  Additionally, throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies.  Specifically, the Offering Documents and Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Opera’s sustainable growth and market opportunity for its browser applications was significantly overstated; (ii) Defendants’ funded, owned, or otherwise controlled loan services applications and/or businesses relied on predatory lending practices; (iii) all the foregoing, once revealed, were reasonably likely to have a material negative impact on Opera’s financial prospects, especially with respect to its lending applications’ continued availability on the Google Play Store; and (iv) as a result, the Offering Documents and Defendants’ statements were materially false and/or misleading and failed to state information required to be stated therein.

On January 16, 2020, Hindenburg Research (“Hindenburg”) published a report asserting that Hindenburg had “a 12-month price target of $2.60 on Opera, representing a 70% downside.”  Among other issues, Hindenburg reported that Opera’s “browser market share is declining rapidly, down ~30% since its IPO”; that Opera was involved in “predatory short-term loans in Africa and India, deploying deceptive ‘bait and switch’ tactics to lure in borrowers and charging egregious interest rates ranging from ~365-876%”; that Opera’s lending business applications, many of which are offered on Google’s Play Store—particularly, OKash, OPesa, CashBean, and Opay—were “in black and white violation of numerous Google rules” aimed at “curtail[ing] predatory lending”; and that consequently, Opera’s entire lending business was “at risk of disappearing or being severely curtailed when Google notices” Opera’s alleged violation of its rules.

On this news, Opera’s ADS price fell $1.69 per share, or 18.74%, to close at $7.33 per share on January 16, 2020.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New YorkChicagoLos Angeles, and Paris, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

 

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

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Addepar Broadens Reach with Expanded Offerings for RIAs

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Addepar, Inc., a leading technology platform for wealth management, announced a number of releases aimed at helping RIAs that serve a variety of client types excel in an increasingly competitive market. The new capabilities and features make it easier than ever for firms to adopt Addepar’s modern technology stack, streamline their operations and offer a truly differentiated client experience powered by best in class data, analytics and reporting.

“As the wealth management industry continues to undergo a dramatic transformation, we’re making good on our goal to meet wealth advisors where they are. We’re delivering new functionality in our platform that empowers RIAs to navigate these changes with purpose-built, intuitive solutions so that they can deliver lasting value to clients and grow their business for years to come,” said Addepar CEO Eric Poirier.

Making it easier for RIAs to modernize their tech stack
For established RIAs who want to modernize their reporting technology but find it daunting to make the switch, Addepar is introducing a broader and more flexible set of data migration options to efficiently and precisely fulfill each client’s data onboarding needs. This includes a newly introduced “Advent Converter,” which streamlines migrating data from Advent’s APX and Axys systems into Addepar. Addepar will continue investing in additional data management and conversion solutions to make it easy for any firm to upgrade to Addepar’s technology.

Addressing emerging demand and delivering more client value
Addepar’s strong traction with large RIA firms, banks and broker-dealers has exposed a previously unmet need in the market: the power to use Addepar’s platform for all advisor teams, from those with ultra-high net worth clients to those who serve the mass affluent. Today, the company is introducing AddeparGoSM, an offering that tailors Addepar’s software to the specific needs of these larger firms. AddeparGo is designed with a set of features, capabilities and custodial data feeds that optimize for speedy implementation and make it easy for larger firms who have a range of advisor teams to adopt. The company is making AddeparGo available to key partners and clients now, and will continue shaping this offering based on feedback.

Helping the back-office streamline operations and scale productivity
Many well-established firms have turned to Addepar for its ability to support sizable and complex implementations and provide data aggregation, analytics and reporting at scale. To offer even greater support, the company is pleased to announce the release of Addepar Teams. Teams is a set of advanced controls and permissions to serve firms that need to grant varying access by team, branch, role and functional responsibility. This set of digital capabilities dramatically simplifies the previously time-intensive and error-prone operational process of managing reporting controls, while achieving legal, risk and compliance goals.

 

SOURCE Addepar

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