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Upstart Holdings, Inc.

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About UPST

Upstart Holdings, Inc. is a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform. The Company’s platform aggregates consumer demand for loans and connects it to its network of Upstart AI-enabled bank partners. Its AI models are provided to bank partners within a consumer-facing cloud application that streamlines the end-to-end process of originating and servicing a loan. It has built a configurable, multi-tenant cloud application designed to integrate seamlessly into a bank’s existing technology systems. Its configurable platform allows each bank to define its own credit policy and determine the significant parameters of its lending program. The AI models use and analyze data from all of its bank partners. Its Consumers can discover Upstart-powered loans in one of two ways: either through or through a bank-branded product on its bank partners’ own websites. It has also made significant investments in Upstart Auto Retail, a front-end software-as-a-service application.

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What does Upstart Holdings, Inc. do? 

Upstart was once a startup. Now it's a leading platform in the AI lending space.

The company partners with banks and credit unions to provide affordable loans to customers regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, or gender. They aim to “enable effortless credit based on true risk.” Using artificial intelligence to handle loan requests, more than 66% of Upstart loans are instantly approved and fully automated.

Upstart’s AI model is able to predict creditworthiness quickly and accurately because it “incorporates more than 1,500 variables and benefits from a rapidly growing training dataset that currently contains more than 21.6 million repayment events.”

These smarts result in an exceptional online lending experience, higher approval rates and lower loan costs for consumers. Meanwhile the lenders get increased profits, a lower level of consumer defaults and in turn, reduced losses.

Upstart was founded in 2012 by former Google President of Enterprise, Dave Girouard, former Google Manager of Global Enterprise Customer Programs and Gmail Consumer Operations, Anna Counselman and Paul Gu. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, California.

How does Upstart make money?

Upstart earns the majority of its revenue by collecting fees for loans originated on their site. Via nonexclusive agreements, banks and credit unions can embed their technology into Upstart’s systems.

For FY2021, 55% of loans on Upstart’s platform were originated by Cross River Bank (CRB). The fees from these loans made up 56% of Upstart’s revenue. 

Another undisclosed partner originated 36% of loans on Upstart’s platform of which the fees made up 27% of the company’s revenue.

Some of Upstart’s other partners include AgFed Credit Union, Corning Credit Union, Drummond Community Bank and Apple Bank.

Is Upstart profitable?

Yes, Upstart is a profitable business.

It has grown revenue consistently over the past three years with US$164m, US$228m andUS$841m in FY2019, FY2020 and FY2021, respectively.

For FY2021, the company’s net income rose from US$6m to US$135m, a year-on-year increase of 2163%.

As of the end of FY2021, the company also has a free cash flow of US$153m.

Should I buy UPST stock?

UPST stock has dropped over 70% since its October 2021 high of over US$400 down to a March 2022 low of $85.00.

Many investors believe UPST stock has been hurt by fears of an inflationary economic environment and rising geopolitical tensions. To add fuel to the fire, concerns have grown about rising default rates on the company’s US$695m debt. 

The company also issued 21m more shares in FY2021, increasing total UPST shares from 76m to 95m.

Despite current negative sentiment, Upstart is still earning profit consistently and some investors believe buying and holding for the long term may see returns.

Who owns UPST stock?

CEO David Girouard is Upstart’s biggest shareholder, with 12.22% of ownership.

Other investors include Vanguard Group (5.93%), Vulcan Value Partners (5.76%), Third Point (4.76%), Rakuten Capital (3.95%) and BlackRock (2.51%).

The general public owns 36.5% of the company.

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