Purpose-driven fintech startup Self Financial raises $50M in funding to let consumers build credit and savings
The FinTech industry is changing the face of finance and banking. Unlike in the past when companies only care about making profits, a new generation of leaders and a thriving ecosystem of startups are unlocking new possibilities to make broader financial and economic inclusion a reality.
One of these startups is Self Financial, an Austin, Texas-based fintech startup that is working to increase economic inclusion and financial resilience through products that enable people to build credit while building savings.
Founded six years ago by Conor Swanson and James Garvey, Self Financial provides tools necessary for building on-time payment history and responsible use of credit, in collaboration with issuing banks. The company helps those who are new to credit or who might not have access to traditional financial products. We wrote about Self back in 2020 after the company raised $20M Series C funding to accelerate growth and hire new staff.
Today, Self Financial announced it has closed a $50 million Series E financing led by Altos Ventures with participation from Meritech Capital and Conductive Ventures. This marks the company’s third fundraising round since February 2020 and to date, Self has raised $127 million. The latest injection of capital will further scale the business to make building credit accessible for the 100+ million Americans that have no credit or low credit scores.
With Self’s flagship Credit Builder Account, customers can build credit and savings without a hard credit inquiry or prior credit history. The company also offers the Self Visa® Credit Card, a unique secured card giving customers the ability to extend their credit building journey, also without a hard credit check. Self has served more than 2 million customers.
“We deeply support Self’s mission of helping underserved customers to build credit and savings, bringing them into the American financial mainstream,” says Anthony Lee, Managing Director of Altos Ventures. “Since our original investment, Self has helped millions of people build credit and this latest round will enable them to scale their team and products to help millions more.”
The company continues to experience rapid growth and more than 40% of new customers are from word-of-mouth referrals. Additionally, Self’s active customer base has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Beginning this month, people who hold an H-1B or L-1 work visa or student visa are able to open Credit Builder accounts, opening the door for more people to participate who are new to the U.S. credit system.
“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to improve their financial future. That belief shapes everything we do, so looking ahead, we will continue to invest in the business and improve on our products to offer industry-leading solutions that support consumers, particularly those who are new to credit or building their credit,” says Self founder and CEO James Garvey.
Since the start of 2021, Self has hired 120 employees, bringing its current employee count to nearly 200. The company also expanded its staff beyond Austin this year by hiring remote personnel in 17 states. Most recently, Self hired Kathleen Leonik as Chief Compliance Officer. She has more than two decades of compliance and auditing experience, having held leadership positions at Barclaycard and most recently, Mercury Financial.