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Raising Money Is a Means, Not an End

This piece was written by Earnest CEO Louis Beryl and was originally posted on LinkedIn.

Back in January when Earnest raised our $17 million Series A, I turned around to our team — then 30 people— and said one thing: raising money is a means — not an end.

Today, we are announcing our Series B fundraising, and what held true then continues to hold true today: raising money is a means — not an end. But we are very humbled, excited, and honored to announce having substantially more “means” to put into our vision of building the modern bank for the next generation.

As was reported in today’s New York Times, Earnest has raised $275 million in total financing from partners like Battery Ventures, Adams Street Partners, and New York Life. General Partner Roger Lee from Battery will be joining our board.

I want to examine a few of the promises we made in January because this huge vote in confidence from our new and previous investment partners warrants a look back into Earnest’s past just as much as it does into the future.

Provide better access to credit to thousands — and one day millions — of people, to reach our goal of helping them achieve their hopes and dreams, and save them billions of dollars doing it.

  • We have grown by nearly 50x over the past year, which hasn’t come without its challenges — we switched offices, ran out of space, switched offices again, hired more than 100 brilliant people and have worked all hours of the day, night, and weekend to make sure that we’re delivering an exceptional experience for our clients.

Build the most advanced underwriting platform in the world.

  • Our platform engineering, data engineering, product engineering, and credit operations teams have never once stopped innovating this year. We’re using more advanced algorithms than ever to optimize rates, and our clients are getting better decisions even faster than when we first launched our flagship student loan refinancing product.

Devise new products and services to meet the financial needs of a new generation.

  • Earnest has introduced incredible new product features — like Precision Pricing — that are doing more than any other lender to rewrite what’s possible in the industry. It’s just one reason why we have the highest savings average in the industry, and one of the many features that makes us fundamentally different than other lenders.
  • This is just the beginning — we have several other products in the works across multiple personal finance verticals for 2016 and beyond…but more on that when they’re ready.

And of course, continue to grow our team of people who share our passion for this mission.

  • Never has this been truer than it is today with our new capital infusion. Over the next year, Earnest will hire over 200 more people across the entire organization — from data science, to design, to marketing, to client happiness, to platform engineering — to help make our vision to build the modern bank for the next generation a reality. Join us — we are hiring.

And while it’s important to stop, look back, and appreciate what we’ve accomplished, now is not the time for a victory lap. Raising money is still a means, not an end, and we’ve got a 100-year vision for Earnest.

The U.S. credit system is still broken. Innovation in financial services is not coming fast enough. At Earnest, we’re fixing it as quickly as possible. Help us make it happen.

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Earnest is a technology company using software automation, smart design, and exceptional service to restore trust in the lending industry and help clients take control of their finances.