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Here’s how Dave Girouard, co-founder of Upstart, describes the website’s twist on crowdfunding: “Millennials are different than the rest of us—they aren’t nearly as interested in climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, they often prefer to carve their own paths, to start their own businesses. But student debt and lack of access to capital can make that quite hard. When I was president of Google Enterprise, we made hiring decisions using a data-driven model that considered the applicant’s alma mater, areas of study, class rank, and standardized test scores. And it worked. Upstart uses a similar analytical approach to predict someone’s success in the broader economy and determine their earning potential. Then we help people raise capital to fund their ideas in exchange for a small share of their personal income for 10 years. In effect, they’re borrowing from their future selves. Since last summer, 135 backers have invested a modest amount of capital in more than 80 ‘upstarts.’ In addition, many backers offer to mentor the upstarts they fund, which increases the chances of success for both parties. By tying repayment to future success, we allow young people to make the best choices for their careers. And our economy gets more entrepreneurs, which helps it flourish.”
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