Credit goes a long way. Silicon Valley’s Deserve, a company that offers credit card options to students and professionals just raised $50 million with backing led by Goldman Sachs, in addition to Sallie Mae, Accel, Pelion Venture Partners, and Mission Holdings. This new investment pushes the startup into total equity of more than $147 million and will allow the company to hire engineers and data scientists, develop its CaaS, expand its sales and marketing divisions, and build out its platform infrastructure.
Recently named “Best Credit Card for Students” by Business Insider, NerdWallet, and Money Magazine, and one of Fast Company's “Most Innovative Companies,” Deserve originally started by targeting international students who needed credit cards and has expanded from direct-to-consumer to more CaaS solutions for fintechs, brands, and financial institutions since it launched in 2012.
Today, the startup develops branded credit card programs, in addition to cashback rewards, incentives with partners like Amazon and Mastercard, credit education, and more. As the credit card market shifts to more virtual and mobile transactions, Deserve wants to be right there. The company’s cards offer more in hospitality, food, and lifestyle options as opposed to the dying “breed” of store and other cards.
“We believe Deserve's card platform will bring meaningful savings and new opportunities to institutions across a range of verticals,” said Ashwin Gupta, managing director, Goldman Sachs, in a recent interview.
Kalpesh Kapadia, co-founder and CEO of Deserve, said the company wanted to raise a large enough amount of money so they wouldn’t have to go to market again. The new funding will help Deserve enhance and grow its credit card platform. The company has no plans to venture into other financial products at this time.
“Deserve empowers organizations of all kinds - from major financial institutions to consumer brands to universities - to offer customized branded credit cards with tailored rewards for their customers that in turn incentivize loyalty or other user behaviors,” said Kapadia. “Our API-centric approach means the platform is highly scalable and can be deployed on an advanced timeframe. It allows us to offer a seamless digital on-boarding process for cardholders - a simple process for businesses and consumers alike.”