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Upgrade expects about $700 million in revenue this year

Lucinda Shen
Oct 13, 2022
Photo illustration collage of Renaud LaPlanche.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch/Axios. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Upgrade, a lending and credit card startup, is looking to hire hundreds over the next year and expects to grow revenue by about 75% in 2022, CEO Renaud LaPlanche tells Axios.

Why he matters: LaPlanche is a sector veteran and the company raised $280 million in funding at a $6.3 billion valuation in November from investors like Coatue Management and DST Global.

This conversation has been edited in places for clarity.

It's been nearly a year since you last raised funding. Are you thinking of doing so again soon?

  • This environment is not great. Right now, we'd probably raise at around the same valuation because we've grown, but valuations have come down. We have $500 million in cash.
  • I think we would probably do another around at some point in the future when the environment gets better.

You led another company, LendingClub, to an IPO. Is Upgrade on the same path?

  • We're continuing to tinker with product and strategies. We're probably going to continue to do that for the next couple of years.

Last year was red-hot for IPOs. Did you consider it then?

  • We didn't. Sometimes folks obsess about the IPO and forget that once you've done the IPO, you have to run a public company. Going public in a hot market is actually not necessarily better because you raise expectations and end up with very high stock prices.

What's your revenue?

  • We did just over $400 million last year. We'll do about $700 million this year and about $85 million in net income.

Are you still hiring?

  • We currently have about 1,500. We're going to hire, but probably not as fast as last year. Over the next year, we're probably going to add another 500.

How are interest rates impacting your business?

  • Higher rates are going to impact the job market at some point. We are tightening credit and preparing for slower economic growth and probably higher unemployment than what we've seen in the last few months.
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