The AI and blockchain based finance platforms are targeting older clients that are "cash light and rich in equity" and who have become known as ‘CLAREs’. Photo: iStock

A year-old San Francisco company has raised more than US$100 million for its blockchain0based home equity loan platform.

The company, Figure, that was started by Mike Cagney – who also founded student loan refinancing specialist SoFi – has, according to a Techcrunch report, just raised $65 million from various major financial and venture capital firms in a series B round of funding. This brings Figure’s funding total to $115 million to date. The new investment, writes Techcrunch, comes from Morgan Creek, DST Global, DCM, Ribbit Capital and Nimble Ventures.

Figure is purportedly targeting older clients who are “cash light and rich in equity” and who have become known as “CLAREs.” According to American Banker, the firm is lending $1.5 million a day, a figure which Cagney expects to double every few months. According to US census data, older Americans are projected to outnumber children for the first time in history by 2030, and Figure wants a slice of that growing market.

Cagney made his name turning SoFi into America’s biggest student loan refinancer – by then targeting so-called “HENRYs,” who are “high earners, not rich yet” – but last year Bloomberg reported that he quit the firm amid sexual harassment allegations.

Today SoFi is valued at about $4.5 billion and has reshaped into a fully-fledged financial services company targeting millennials. According to CNBC, SoFi recently announced a partnership with crypto exchange giant Coinbase and will be providing own crypto services later this year.

Twitter’s former chief operating officer and a former managing director at Goldman Sachs, Anthony Noto, now heads SoFi and he clearly sees a future in crypto-currency. “Our target audience wants to see what the price of crypto-currency is, and to buy it. They have a desire to do that and in many cases they already are.”

Figure is taking a similar approach to SoFi by launching a blockchain-based product that will be followed by expansion into other financial services. Cagney told Bloomberg that by the end of 2019, “Figure should look like a robust financial platform that can meet the needs of our customers.”

Figure now does not have direct crypto-currency aspirations but is leveraging blockchain, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to unlock consumer credit products for its customers. It is among a number of US companies and startups that are turning to technology to make it easier for Americans to borrow against their homes.

Be it to CLAREs or HENRYs, there is clearly still a lot of money in lending money in the US and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment