Student Loan Genius scores $3 mln in seed funding


Student Loan Genius, an Austin-based student loan benefits provider, raised $3 million in a seed funding round led by Gibraltar Ventures, an affiliate of Prudential, along with an affiliate of John Hancock/Manulife. Other participants in the round included Kapor Capital, Capital Factory and Village Capital.

PRESS RELEASE

AUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – Feb 17, 2016) – Student Loan Genius, Austin-based student loan benefits provider, today announced that the company has raised $3 million in seed funding, largely spearheaded by Gibraltar Ventures, an affiliate of Prudential, along with an affiliate of John Hancock/Manulife. Other participants in the round included Kapor Capital, which invests in organizations led by diverse teams that develop social impact solutions, Capital Factory and Village Capital.

In a nation where 70 percent of graduates are carrying student loans that average more than $35,000, student loan benefits are a particularly attractive sector for investors and employers. What makes Student Loan Genius unique is its only-of-its-kind, three-pronged approach to offering these benefits. This approach has already captured the attention of 45 companies, who have incorporated Student Loan Genius’ student loan benefits into their employee offerings.

“We are excited to be part of Student Loan Genius’ future as they empower businesses to help their employees get to that next stage in their lives,” said Chris Penner, vice president of investments for Gibraltar Ventures. “By providing student loan benefits that help employees pay down debt faster, Student Loan Genius is delivering an innovative, competitive advantage to businesses by helping them attract and retain top talent.”

Student Loan Genius will use the funding to continue its growth and roll out new products that will reshape the way student loan benefit packages are offered.

“Student Loan Genius has the potential to impact thousands of lives across the U.S.,” said Tim Ramza, chief innovation officer of John Hancock/Manulife. “This innovative approach will reshape the way student loan debt is tackled and positively remake the relationship between employers and their employees.”

With Student Loan Genius’ robust Genius Platform, employers can contribute matching dollars toward employees’ student loan payments through ‘Genius Match’ — similar to a 401k. The end result for the average Student Loan Genius user is a savings of $31,291 and an average repayment time reduction of 12 years.

In addition to Genius Match, Student Loan Genius subscribers also have access to two additional features to help employees take control of their student loans: the ‘Genius Advisor,’ which identifies the best repayment plan and provides a 1:1 advisory service to employees, and the ‘Genius Pay’ system, which deducts payments directly from payroll and allocates them in the most advantageous way possible.

“We are thrilled that companies like Gibraltar Ventures, along with an affiliate of John Hancock/Manulife and Kapor Capital realize the value and want to support what Student Loan Genius is doing,” said Tony Aguilar, co-founder and CEO of Student Loan Genius. “Aside from the business opportunity, we see these large investments as indications that these firms really want to help people with every aspect of their financial life, starting with student loan debt and retirement savings, two of the largest concerns of working professionals. Clearly, they believe in innovation, they recognize what we’re doing to help people, and they’re making a commitment to invest in the lives of today’s graduates — the future of the workforce.”

To learn more about how Student Loan Genius’ student loan benefits can impact both employers and employees, visit www.studentloangenius.com or email [email protected] to schedule an interview.

About Student Loan Genius
Inspired by their own personal student loan debt experiences, the Student Loan Genius team is committed to responsibly improving the financial outlook for all employees with student loans. As the industry leader, Student Loan Genius is proud to blaze the path towards making this tool the new and modern benefit in all employee packages, one employer and one loan at a time.

About Gibraltar Ventures
Gibraltar Ventures, the innovation lab and venture capital affiliate of Prudential Financial, Inc., focuses on innovations in Prudential’s core businesses: retirement, protection and asset management. Prudential’s companies include The Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. Gibraltar Ventures believes the future of finance lies beyond finance. We invest in companies that help others pursue behavioral finance and new technologies that transform the future of transactions and engagement.

About John Hancock and Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2015, we had approximately 34,000 employees, 63,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers. At the end of December 2015, we had $935 billion (US$676 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $24.6 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong. Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit www.manulife.com or www.johnhancock.com.

About Kapor Capital

Based in Oakland, California, Kapor Capital invests in seed stage tech startups that generate both economic returns and positive social impact. They believe that diversity is a strategic priority for the tech industry.

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