Avant, a Chicago-based online lending platform, has launched the Avant Institutional Marketplace, an inaugural program that allows institutional investors to purchase loans originated on Avant’s technology platform. The new $400 million round of financing led by KKR presented an opportunity for Avant to partner with a major global investment firm, Avant said in a statement this week (13 April). Jefferies and Victory Park Capital, which had already provided financing to Avant in the past, were also involved in this round. Avant launched in 2013 first in the US and later in the UK.
Speaking on a panel on Emerging Online Lending Leaders at the LendIt USA event in New York this week, Al Goldstein, chief executive of Avant, said the firm will continue to hold some of the loans on its own balance sheet for better alignment of interests, but will also look for multiple streams of capital going forward, where he thinks partnering or getting new financing from large asset managers, banks or financial firms will play a big part in the firm’s success going forward. The firm has already raised $1.4 billion to date in financing and was Chicago’s most funded company in 2014, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Avant’s other backers included Tiger Global Management, August Capital, Peter Thiel, DFJ Growth and RRE Ventures, among others.
“The new sources of capital obtained through the Avant Institutional Marketplace will allow our company to focus on growth and continue to serve the unique financial needs of the everyday consumer in the US and abroad,” Goldstein said in a statement. He also mentioned on the panel that he is interested in expanding into another two countries in the next 12 months., though he declined to say which ones.