Fintech Candidly Raises $20.5M to Help People Repay Student Debt, Build Savings

Candidly, which claims to be the market’s most comprehensive student debt and savings optimization platform, announced it raised $20.5M in a Series B round of financing, led by Altos Ventures, with follow-on participation from Cercano Management.

The Series B investment round reportedly “follows a year of record growth in which the company saw 10x revenue growth and a 3,600% increase of payments flowing through the Candidly platform.”

Candidly partners “with employers, retirement recordkeepers, and financial services companies to seamlessly embed its technology within the partner’s own digital experience, addressing a critical gap in the workplace financial wellness experience by enabling users to pay down their debt faster and more cost effectively.”

In 2022, Candidly claims it has “added prominent distribution partners including Guild, Empower, Lincoln Financial Group, and Vanguard, joining existing partners including UBS and Fiserv, positioning Candidly to serve over 35M Americans.”

Today, Candidly is poised “to serve one in five full-time, part-time, and gig workers in the United States.”

Laurel Taylor, Founder and CEO of Candidly, said:

“Our Series B round of financing places us in a unique position of opportunity and responsibility, empowering the largest financial services companies in the world to engage and transform the financial wellness and retirement readiness of those who believe that education – past, present, and future – is part of their path to prosperity.” 

Anthony Lee, Managing Director at Altos Ventures, said:

“Our team at Altos shares Candidly’s vision to empower people to tackle student debt and build financial security. We’ve been impressed with the team’s tenacity and focus, and believe that Candidly is well-positioned with its workplace platform and enterprise partnerships to achieve this vision for millions of Americans.”

The funding comes at a time “when the realities of the student debt and savings crisis, alongside the rise of financial wellness, have never been more relevant.”

Today, nearly 47 million student loan borrowers “owe a collective $1.8 trillion and are preparing to enter repayment after a 3 year pause on federal student loan payments. On top of that financial stress, a majority of Americans today do not have even $400 to cover an unexpected emergency expense.”

Congress recently “passed SECURE Act 2.0, which promises a new normal in workplace benefits, further addressing the pervasive financial insecurity of workers by allowing employers to match employees’ student loan payments, as well as emergency savings contributions, with tax-advantaged retirement contributions.”

In anticipation of its passage, Candidly developed “a full suite of SECURE Act 2.0 solutions offering multiple integration and branding options, enabling incumbents to realize speed to market through Candidly’s innovative proprietary technologies, next-best-action algorithms, and embedded digital experiences.”

These capabilities “build upon a history of rapid product development.”

During the past year of constant policy shifts in the student debt landscape, Candidly responded “with new products, including its Public Service Loan Forgiveness tool, enabling borrowers to understand and access critical federal student debt relief programs.”

Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact, a Candidly investor since 2019. said:

“As the largest impact VC Fund in the country investing in female CEOs tackling our world’s greatest challenges, Candidly is the quintessential example of technology being used as an economic equalizer and a company being led by a phenomenal CEO with the vision, leadership, and tech chops to change the lives of millions of Americans.” 

Taylor added:

“We are honored to partner with Altos Ventures and grateful for the continued confidence of our incredible, existing investors. Since creating the category, it has been the steadfast mission of Candidly to empower hard working Americans to go beyond student debt, into wellness, and ultimately wealth. This round of financing enables us to better respond to this massive market need, translating smart policy into practical solutions that will impact the financial wellbeing of millions of Americans.”

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