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Deserve raises $17 million in funding led by Sallie Mae




  • Deserve is a new company that’s focused on helping
    young people build credit.
  • It just raised $17 million

    Sallie Mae, Accel, Pelion,
    Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings.

For many college students, there’s a Catch-22 when it comes to
their finances: They can’t get a credit card or student loan
because they have no credit history. But they have no credit
history because they can’t get a credit card or student loan – or
at least, not a good one.

This dilemma is all too familiar to Kalpesh Kapadia,
CEO and founder of Silicon Valley-based startup Deserve — which
today announces a $17 million round of funding led by
lending mega-giant Sallie Mae, with participation from early
Facebook investor Accel as well as Pelion, Aspect Ventures, and
Mission Holdings. 

When Kapadia came to the US from India for college, 
he was turned down again and again when applying for credit cards
and student loans.

“I got rejected every time,” Kapadia said. “It was mostly
for credit cards and student loans, given that I didn’t have a
credit card history in the country.”

Despite the decent amount of credit history he had racked
up in countries like India and Singapore, American credit
companies still failed to recognize his financial credibility,
said Kapadia. 

“Everything works around building good credit history,”
said Kapadia. “Building good credit is a weapon, it’s a tool that
can advance your entire life.”

To that end, Kapadia has built his own company, Deserve, to
solve what he considers to be one of the most problematic
financial issues for young people today. 

Deserve’s credit card is created with Generation Z in mind.
Rather than issuing credit cards based on applicants’ financial
history, Deserve issues its credit cards to anyone in possession
of any kind of American ID and a bank account. 

As Kapadia points out, this offering is particularly
appealing to international students, who can use their student
visas to apply. 

It’s Kapadia’s goal to become the number one credit card
company for young people, and Deserve has built out an online
platform to support financial education. 

“Everything works around building a good credit history,”
said Kapadia. “Building good credit is a weapon, a tool to
advance your life.”

With its new funding, Deserve plans to build out its online
platform and further its reward programs with partners like
Amazon Prime, T-Mobile, and Wikipedia.

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