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Dave Girouard, Founder and CEO of Upstart on AI-enabled Lending, Reimagining Credit Scores, and Remote Work

 

Dave Girouard, Founder and CEO of Upstart on AI-enabled Lending, Reimagining Credit Scores, and Remote Work (EP.175)

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

Dave is the founder and CEO of Upstart ($UPST), the first consumer lending platform to use Machine Learning (ML) to price credit and automate the borrowing process. Prior to founding Upstart, Dave was President of Google Enterprise and built Google’s billion-dollar cloud apps business worldwide, including product development, sales, marketing, and customer support. He started in Silicon Valley as a Product Manager at Apple and was an associate in Booz Allen’s Information Technology practice. We cover the joy and glory of building a $20 billion plus company in just about nine years, and as we rarely get a public CEO on the show, I’ve got a lot of questions. We talk about business and the markets and lending and interest rates – pretty much how all these things work. Plus we get into remote work, raising venture capital, and the long slug of it all. I believe you will really enjoy the conversation!

You can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or Apple podcast and now all the episodes are on my YouTube channel as well.

You can also listen right here on the blog:

For more details on today’s conversation read on below…

Guest: Dave Girouard

Profile: Founder and CEO of Upstart (UPST)

Where to Find Him: Twitter

What’s Dave Panicked About?: Becoming an emptynester.

The Takeaway:

Upstart is the $2o billion dollar company you’ve never heard of. They’re a fintech company focused on applying Artificial Intelligence to the problem of consumer lending. The heart of it is very sophisticated models that improve the process of originating consumer loans. It’s a two-sided business, with a consumer facing brand attracting and referring consumers to bank partners who originate the loans using AI technology.  Smarter and more accurate credit models mean lower loss rates, building a more inclusive, more profitable lending operation. On raising money: A note of caution when you have big name institutional investors early. It might sound good to have their name attached, but if they decide they’re not really excited to lead a round later on, you’re going to have a hell of a signaling problem. On remote work: Leading a large organization by email and remote feels like you’re on a stage. Words matter, whether it’s written in an email or over hundreds of people on a Zoom call. Overall, it’s pretty efficient. In terms of communication, you get the repetition at scale, repeating and reinforcing the message to everybody.

Favorite Quotes:

“The credit score has seen better days. I mean it was invented you know 30 plus years ago. and at the time you know it was better than the alternative which was some dude in a suit sitting across the desk from you asking you questions and making a judgment call over whether you get a mortgage or a car.”

“The notion of entrepreneurism didn’t frankly hit me at all until I was out in California and suddenly it was all around me and I started to go wow it sure seems to beat working for a living.”


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