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Online lender Avant Inc raises $659mn from JPMorgan, PE firms

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September 30
8:45 AM 2015

Chicago-based start-up lender Avant Inc has mobilized $325millions in its latest round of funding from a private equity (PE) firm General Atlantic and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Balyasny Asset Management and Tiger Global Management LLC are also investing in the round taking total fund-raising for Avant to $659mn till date. General Atlantic-led round is expected to close in October. With this fund-raising, the valuation of Avant is pegged at $1billion. The start-up firm is planning to use the mobilized funds to offer various financial products and fund its global expansion plan.

With the latest round of funding, the total mobilized funds by Avant reached to over $650mn in addition to $1.1bn debt from JPMorgan Chase, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Jefferies. Avant Inc is planning to offer financial products across the world as part of its expansion plan, which will be financed from the mobilized funds. Avant has emerged as a major start up and enable people to borrow money as it evaluates the creditworthiness of customers, who're below prime consumers.

The start-up uses its new algorithms and different sources of data to analyze the creditworthiness of customers. It charges interest rate varying from nine percent to 36 percent depending upon the profile and creditworthiness of customers. 

With General Atlantic leading the latest round of financing for Avant Inc, the other investors include August Capital, DFJ Growth, Balyasny Asset Management and existing shareholders of Tiger Global Management and RRE Ventures in addition to JPMorgan. 

Al Goldstein, CEO and founder, Avant Inc, said: "We're trying to build transformative company that could be a $50bn to $100bn business someday, by becoming the preeminent provider of credit to small and middle-income consumers. We've been talking to General Atlantic for the last couple of years and really believe they will be super valuable as we build our business."

Avant has been receiving support from big banks. With a focus on middle class in the US and the UK markets, Avant is offering online lending from $1,000 to $35,000 with average loan amount is $8,000. 
Avant's lending amount reached $500mnin 2014 and the online lender is aiming to quadruple it to $2bn in 2015. Major financial institution Jeffries Transactions will soon start selling the debt in the market. This is for the first time, a financial institution is securitizing Avant's loans.

Jonathan Korngold, Managing Director, General Atlantic, said: "They're doing all the things you'd expect a blue-chip financial institution to provide, but in a much more convenient way. They're fair and transparent."
Avant Inc in August completed the securitization of $139 and it originated over $1.5bn of loans since 2013.  

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