Milwaukee-based fintech company Upwardli
announced this week the close of a $2 million seed round. Upwardli is a credit building product that was designed to serve the millions of U.S. adults who have challenges accessing quality financial services due to a lack of credit or bad credit. The seed round was led by Omaha, Nebraska-based Dundee Venture Capital.
Green Bay-based Tundra Angels
also participated in the seed round, according to a LinkedIn post from manager Matthew Kee.
and Danielle Hill,
co-founders of Upwardli, first became aware of how the lack of a credit score disproportionately affects immigrants and younger people while they were employees at Remitly, a Seattle-based international money transfer company that serves a primarily immigrant customer base.
"The lack of established credit created barriers to accessing needed financial services," said Gregory, chief executive officer of Upwardli. "For credit-based products, it's a total mess. Our credit system creates a chicken-and-egg problem that exacerbates these barriers and penalizes those just starting their financial life."
Upwardli’s credit building solution allows users without a social security number or a U.S. credit file to quickly establish and build their U.S. credit score, progressively unlocking access to a range of financial products.
The company partners with financial institutions to offer its credit building solutions as an alternative to a credit rejection when an applicant fails to qualify due to a lack of credit history. Upwardli helps consumers build their credit into an acceptable range and then passes the customer back to the lending institution, ready for approval.
Upwardli will use the $2 million in funding to hire additional staff, add features to boost credit scores faster, and expand its partnerships with financial institutions to embed its credit builder solutions into their own product experiences.
Following the close of this latest funding round, Catherine Williams,
principal at Dundee Venture Capital, and Hill, the company's chief operating officer, joined the Upwardli board of directors.
"Upwardli is an excellent example of an innovative fintech company leveraging data and technology to deliver much-needed financial services for underserved populations," said Williams. "Their inclusive credit builder product is already unlocking access to credit for creditworthy individuals across the country. Paired with their unique data and product capabilities, Upwardli is poised to deliver innovative credit products to customer segments where existing solutions are unavailable or prohibitively expensive.”