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Candidly Raises $20.5 Million to Help Millions of Americans Repay Student Debt and Build Savings
Altos Ventures leads the Series B raise after a year of record growth
NEW YORK, March 7, 2023-- Candidly, the market’s most comprehensive student debt and savings optimization platform, today 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 financing 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 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.
“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,” said Laurel Taylor, Founder and CEO of Candidly.
“Our team at Altos shares Candidly’s vision to empower people to tackle student debt and build financial security,” said Anthony Lee, Managing Director at Altos Ventures. “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.
“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,” said Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact, a Candidly investor since 2019.
“We are honored to partner with Altos Ventures and grateful for the continued confidence of our incredible, existing investors,” Taylor added. “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.”
Candidly (formerly FutureFuel.io) addresses the full lifecycle of education expenses and empowers people to make simultaneous progress on paying down student debt and building wealth. Candidly partners with leading employers, and financial institutions, 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeepers, retirement plan advisors, wealth management firms, and core banking providers, such as UBS, Fiserv, and Salesforce, to embed its experience anywhere a user works, banks, or experiences financial services.
Candidly understands that education is one of the largest investments most people will make in a lifetime — whether for themselves or their children. Candidly brings compassion, authenticity, and confidence to Americans as they navigate their higher education pursuits — past, present, and future. Candidly is backed by leading venture capital and strategic investors including Altos Ventures, Breton Capital, Cercano Management, Impact Engine, Rethink Impact, Salesforce Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, UBS, and Unum. For more information, visit www.getcandidly.com.
Colin Crook, Candidly