CommonBond Raises $300 Million, Acquires Student Loan Company

NEW YORK — CommonBond, an online lender that uses data and technology to lower the cost of student loans, has raised over $300 million in new funding. The influx of capital is a combination of equity capital to fund operations and lending capital to fund loans. Additionally, the company announced the acquisition of Gradible to build out a new employer platform for student loan repayment.

Neuberger Berman Private Equity led the $30 million Series C equity round, joining existing CommonBond investors August Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, Social Capital, Nyca Partners and Victory Park Capital. Key individual investors in CommonBond include former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer and former Barclays Private Wealth CEO Tom Kalaris.

CommonBond will use the new equity funding to hire across the organization, build out its technology platforms for consumers and employers, and continue to scale its loan operations.

“Among the hundreds of fintech lenders out there, CommonBond stood out to us for its sophistication in underwriting, capital markets, technology and customer acquisition,” said Brien Smith, Managing Director at Neuberger Berman. “It’s still early days in online lending’s disruption of traditional finance, and we believe CommonBond, with its world-class team and history of consistent performance, will continue to be a leader in the space for years to come.”

In addition to the equity funding, CommonBond is announcing $300 million in loan purchases by a leading global asset management firm. With the new funding, CommonBond will surpass $1 billion in financing across equity and debt.

CommonBond also announced the acquisition of Gradible, a personal finance platform founded in 2013 by Pete Wylie, Grant Biles and Lee Smallwood, that provides users with unbiased, personalized recommendations on how to better manage and repay their student loans.

With the Gradible acquisition, CommonBond now offers employers a full suite of student loan repayment programs for their employees, beyond CommonBond’s student loan refinancing options. The new additions to the employer-based student loan repayment platform include:

  • Assessment: Through CommonBond, employers will now be able offer all employees a comprehensive suite of tools to manage and save on student loans, regardless of income or credit history. The platform directs employees to the right repayment option for their specific financial situation, including federal government programs, such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
  • Contribution: CommonBond now enables companies to contribute directly to their employees’ monthly student loan payments, through a student loan contribution platform akin to a 401(k) matching program. The platform will allow employees to save money on their student loan payments, and employers to win over broad swaths of their workforce saddled with billions in student debt.