LendUp Global (LendUp), one of the world’s most innovative companies in consumer finance, today announced the creation of a new subsidiary company, Ahead Financials, LLC (Ahead).
Ahead, a digital banking and financial health platform, will serve emerging middle class consumers in the U.S. and globally, and partner with leading institutions to ensure no one is excluded from the cornerstones of financial wellbeing: the ability to plan, save, spend, borrow and learn good financial habits.
“Building upon our learnings and successes with LendUp, today we introduce Ahead as a solution for emerging middle class consumers striving to improve their most basic financial circumstances,” said Anu Shultes, CEO of LendUp. “With Ahead, we will double down on financial education, saving opportunities and helping the economically vulnerable to plan for and manage their expenses. While LendUp will continue to innovate small dollar lending, Ahead will provide new and needed access to banking and financial products for consumers underserved by Main Street institutions.”
Ahead will provide a digital banking app, checking account and debit card with no monthly service fees. Ahead customers will also benefit from early access to their paycheck, fee-free overdraft protection for up to $100 and surcharge-free, in-network ATM access at over 55,000 conveniently located ATMs. Additionally, customers will receive financial literacy tools including the Ahead Financial Personal Trainer and credit-building actions to strengthen their credit scores over time. The company will add new financial fitness capabilities with key strategic partners such as the Financial Health Network, SpringFour and BALANCE, and will announce additional programs and partnerships in the upcoming months.
“Ahead’s inclusive finance platform is strongly aligned with LendUp’s core mission and we are excited for this next phase of innovation and growth that Anu and her seasoned management team will be leading,” said Don Butler, Managing Director at Thomvest Ventures, one of LendUp’s investors.
LendUp and Ahead will be led by the same experienced management team that includes former bankers, regulators and product visionaries. Shultes is a minority and immigrant CEO who has spent over 25 years in the financial services industry. As an affiliate of LendUp, Shultes will also lead Ahead Financials as CEO.
Customers can sign up for the Ahead waiting list at aheadmoney.com.
Founded in 2012, LendUp is on a mission to help anyone get on a path to better financial health. The company has pioneered financial technology and alternative credit scoring–as well as gamified financial education and cost-savings solutions–to help the more than 150 million Americans rebuilding their credit or just starting out. The company has originated over $2B in small dollar loans and created relationships with more than 1 million customers since inception.
The LendUp loans business combines education programs with access to microfinance solutions to influence and drive positive financial behavior for its customers. LendUp customers have raised their credit profiles by hundreds of thousands of points cumulatively, saved hundreds of millions of dollars in interests and fees and taken over five million educational courses on its financial e-learning platform.
With Ahead Financials (Ahead), the company is now innovating how consumers and their financial partners worldwide will bring forward new savings and financial health services to all people shut out of, or mistreated by, mainstream banking services.
Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2018 by Fast Company, the company is backed by leading growth capital and strategic investors such as Google Ventures, PayPal Ventures, Thomvest Ventures, QED Investors, and Kapor Capital.
Footnote. According to the Financial Health Network, as of August 2020, more than two-thirds of people in America (approximately 167 million people) were “financially coping” or “financially vulnerable.” These individuals are struggling to spend, save, borrow, or plan in ways that allow them to be resilient and seize opportunities over time. (Financial Health Network. U.S. Financial Health Pulse: 2020 Trends Report)