With securitization efforts being put on hold, the A16z backed startup is now looking for a buyer at ~$100m after struggling to raise new venture equity this year. The company last raised $75m of equity and $200m of debt in 2015.
Earnest is part of a wave of financial-tech startups specializing in peer-to-peer lending, leveraging data and technology to offer lower interest rates than banks. Earnest looks at information other than a borrower’s credit score before making a loan, such as how much money the person has in a retirement account, as a way to offer better rates for less risky borrowers. But the industry has seen a number of setbacks as startups that entered the public market continue to struggle. On Deck Capital Inc. and LendingClub Corp., for instance, both listed in late 2014 and have seen share prices fall 82 percent and 61 percent, respectively.