Market Overview

CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund Leads $62 Million Series C Round Investment in Upgrade


BEIJING, Aug. 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech company in China, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund ("CEFIF") has recently led $62 million Series C round investment in Upgrade. Other investors in this round of financing include Apoletto, FirstMark Capital, NOAH, Ribbit, Sands Capital Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Union Square Ventures and Vy Capital.

Launched in 2016, Upgrade is a consumer credit platform, combining with affordable credit monitoring and education tools to help consumers better understanding of their credit potential. Upgrade employs over 300 team members and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with an operations center in Phoenix, Arizona and technology centers in Chicago, Illinois and Montreal, Canada. The Upgrade platform has facilitated over $1 billion in originations of affordable consumer loans since inception.

Upgrade has raised $142 million in equity capital since its inception in 2016. The $62 million Series C round includes the conversion of all previously issued convertible notes and will help Upgrade continue innovating its products after the recently launched of Personal Credit Line, which is designed to combine the low cost, fixed rate and monthly amortization of personal loans.

Renaud Laplanche, former co-founder of Lending Club and the co-founder and CEO of Upgrade commented: "We are thrilled that CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund led the Series C round investment. The new capital will enable us to continue our investments into product, credit analytics, compliance, risk management and expansion of our San Francisco, Phoenix, Montreal and Chicago offices. We are seeing a growing desire from consumers to better understand their overall credit situation and learn to make great financial decisions that gives them access to more affordable credit. This encourages us to keep building responsible consumer credit products that fit these trends. We believe that this partnership with CreditEase is the beginning of many great projects to come."

CEFIF has an equivalent of US$ 1 billion in total committed capital in both RMB and US Dollars and has recently been ranked No. 2 globally in "The Most Active FinTech VCs" list by CB Insights. This unparalleled achievement demonstrates CreditEase's global investment capabilities and expertise in global FinTech innovation. Up till now, the Fund has invested in over 45 fintech companies globally, including Upgrade.

"We are very proud to be leading this round. We believe Upgrade will grow into a mainstream consumer credit brand that is dedicated to help consumers better understand their credit, and encourages responsible credit behavior, and we are excited to be part of the journey." said Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director at CreditEase, who will be joining the Upgrade board.

As Upgrade's CEO, Renaud presides over the company's business strategy and oversees its execution in developing consumer credit products that help consumers better understand their credit, so they can access more affordable credit products.

Renaud Laplanche pioneered online lending in the US over a decade ago, establishing personal loans as a mainstream affordable credit product for consumers looking for an alternative to high-interest credit cards. His vision to lower costs, dramatically improve user experience and transparency, and help people get access to more responsible credit products has set a standard for online lending. Renaud's founding of Lending Club in 2006 and broader vision has sprung an entire industry and movement that has made credit more affordable for millions of families in America and around the world.

About CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund 
Founded in February 2016, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund ("CEFIF") is a venture fund investing in FinTech companies globally. CEFIFI has an equivalent of USD 1 billion in the total committed capital. The Fund was recently ranked the 2nd "Most Active Fintech VC Fund" globally by CB Insights and also nominated for "Top Fintech Equity Investor" Award at LendIt USA Annual Conference.

About CreditEase
CreditEase is a leading FinTech company in China, specializing in wealth management and inclusive finance, in addition to payment technology, marketplace lending, crowdfunding, robo-advisory, insurance technology and blockchain products and services. CreditEase actively engages with global FinTech innovators through business incubation, commercial co-operation, and investment. Better tech, better finance, better world.

About Upgrade
Upgrade is a consumer credit platform that combines access to affordable credit with credit monitoring and education tools to help consumers better understand their credit and unlock their credit potential. Upgrade employs over 300 team members and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with an operations center in Phoenix, Arizona and technology centers in Chicago, Illinois and Montreal, Canada. Upgrade does not facilitate loans to residents of Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont and West Virginia. All loans originated through the Upgrade platform are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.


CreditEase Corporate Communications

Shirley Xu 

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