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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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Supply Chain Management Association Becomes Supply Chain Canada

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At its AGM yesterday, the Supply Chain Management Association™ announced its name change to Supply Chain Canada™. The association also launched a new website as part of an overall rebranding initiative.

“The new name and look are part of a transformation that we have undertaken as the association enters its second century,” said Christian Buhagiar, President & CEO of Supply Chain Canada. “Today’s supply chains are dynamic and fast-paced. The association for Canada’s supply chain professionals must reflect that.”

Through the rebranding process, the association has also acquired a meaningful new logo and tagline, “Professionals advancing the future.”

The logo’s maple leaf design not only conveys our nationality; it also represents the connectedness of the supply chain, illustrating the networks and collaboration that are so essential to supply chain success, and the interconnectedness of the association’s federation, institutes and members. Its connected dots can be seen, as well, as the complex route of a global supply chain.

“Professionals advancing the future” succinctly communicates both the professional status of supply chain practitioners and their forward-looking perspective. It is intended to:

  1. Elevate the perception of supply chain practitioners as professionals, acknowledging the value they bring to their organizations and to the Canadian economy.
  2. Encompass the several ways that the association and its members “advance” – in their personal careers and knowledge, and for the profession, the country and the economy.
  3. Express the future focus of the association – with its emphasis on the development of skills and policies – and of the supply chain itself, now so focused on AI, blockchain, robotics, automation and so on.

The new website, now at www.supplychaincanada.com, is enhanced with a modern look and new functionality that enables location-based content for users across Canada.

These changes are not simply style enhancements. They are part of a larger plan to strengthen the association. Supply Chain Canada consolidates the organization’s brand across the country under a single name in every province and territory, removing any possible confusion from its federation structure. “The unity that this will ensure will help us improve recognition in the sector, and thereby provide stronger leadership to the Canadian supply chain community,” said Buhagiar.

The association’s transformation began in 2018 with a new vision and mission, as well as an ambitious three-year strategic plan. The new name and rebranding announced yesterday are part of a larger evolution that will continue over the next two years with the introduction of new and revised educational offerings, new initiatives to engage with industry, more value-added membership benefits and more.

 

SOURCE Supply Chain Canada

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Export Portal to Address Best Practices in Sustainable Trade Facilitation at the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum

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Export Portal CEO Ally Spinu will be adding her take on the alignment of trade facilitation and sustainable development goals at a session at the 9th Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) in New Delhi.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a wealth of unexplored opportunities which lay deep in the communities of local businessmen and women that just need support in bringing their amazing products to the world to see and buy,” Ms. Spinu said. “I am looking forward to this event and being a part of the change that will help local businesses from this part of the world sell their products globally. I deeply believe that shifting attention to developing SMEs is the major change international trade and local economies have been waiting for.”

This year’s APTFF will focus on how digital and sustainable trade facilitation measures and practices can bring prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The forum will investigate opportunities from trade digitalization for sustainable progress of the area and challenges ahead in materializing such opportunities. APTFF will feature panel discussions as well as interactive and informative sessions. These sessions will allow participants to share experiences and perspectives on different aspects of trade facilitation, including trade finance, cross-border eCommerce and paperless trade, transit, innovative application of emerging technologies, and more. APTFF will bring relevant regional initiatives and implementation cases to each session, making it a unique opportunity to share knowledge and practical lessons. The forum will also include many side-events providing a more in-depth exploration of the pertinent trade facilitation issues.

“Agricultural products are the fastest category and industry growing within Export Portal, and I can say that is just natural that SMEs around the world are actively looking for new ways for selling their products around the world,” Ms. Spinu said. “The role of innovative technologies such as Export Portal is crucial in helping these SMEs integrate within the world supply chain of food with ease and at optimal costs. I want to explain the current issues existing within SMEs’ integration in international trade due to the high cost involved and how technology slowly but surely changes this.”

Export Portal’s trade goals align directly with the purpose of this session, as its international B2B trade platform is an affordable and all-encompassing solution for SMEs all over the world. The features that are available and being developed on Export Portal, such as the panel of experts (EP+), the educational hub (EPU), and data flow insights (EPI), provide SMEs with the resources they need to trade effectively on an international scale safely, securely, and efficiently.

The Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation for Regional Prosperity session is co-organized by ADB, ESCAP, Ministry of Commerce, India and Confederation of Indian Industry and will be held on Wednesday, September 18, from 9:00 to 10:45 AM.

 

SOURCE Export Portal

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MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

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The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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