US challenger bank Upgrade closes $40m Series D led by Santander InnoVentures

Neobank Upgrade has strengthened its finances with a $40m investment round led by Santander InnoVentures, the Santander Group’s venture capital arm, and will use the money to fuel the growth of current and upcoming products.

“We are thrilled to welcome Santander InnoVentures as a new shareholder,” said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO of Upgrade. “Our strategy of partnering with banks and credit unions of all sizes is delivering tremendous value to our partners and customers, and we are delighted to add one of the world’s largest banks to our partner roster.”

Existing investors Union Square Ventures, Ribbit, Vy Capital and Silicon Valley Bank also participated as did new investors Ventura Capital and Uncorrelated Ventures also participated in the round, bringing total funding since company’s inception to $200m.

Launched in 2017, today Upgrade offers affordable and responsible credit to mainstream consumers. So far over ten million consumers have applied for an Upgrade card or loan. Upgrade has also delivered over $3bn in credit, growing at a triple-digit annual rate.

The Series D round also marked Santander InnoVentures’s continued commitment to support promising FinTech companies. So far it has backed over 30 companies in the sector, including a55, Roostify and Creditas.

“We’re excited to support Upgrade in their next stage of growth,” said Chris Gottschalk, senior advisor at Santander InnoVentures, who will be joining the Upgrade board. “Upgrade is building a neobank with credit at its heart, which we believe is a smart strategy as credit represents 70% of banking revenue globally and is often the main reason customers seek banking services.”

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