For international students, finding a way to finance a U.S. education isn’t easy. That’s where Washington, D.C.-based startup MPOWER Financing comes in.
Founded in 2014, the startup works with 223 universities across all 50 states and has received more than 4,500 applications for its $25,000 student loans.
Today, the company is launching a $100 million debt funding round to keep up with its momentum and enable itself to be able to provide more students who would otherwise be left out of the market with loans.
“The primary uses of these funds is to enable high-potential students to get through college. It’s to fund the tuitions of these students,” said Mike Davis, co-founder of MPOWER, in an interview with DC Inno.
Along with launching the new funding round, Davis will also be taking on the role of chief investment officer, where he’ll oversee the debt round.
The new position and debt round comes on the heels of MPOWER’s $500,000 investment from 1776‘s venture fund at the end of May as a part of the startup’s current Series B fundraising. The equity raise is set to close by the end of the summer as previously reported by DC Inno.
“The best way to think about this is in terms of the growth story here at MPOWER. There is no shortage of high potential students coming to the U.S. each year,” Davis said. “If you think about it, it takes a tremendous amount of scale. So not only is it about MPOWER’s ability to scale our ability to fund tuition, but it’s about our ability to scale our operations to meet the demand.”
Seeing as the company just launched the debt round, it’s not clear what the terms of an investment or maturity dates would be. Right now is just about raising the awareness and interest about the round, and the terms of the debt round will come as they talk with potential investors. With debt rounds, an investor is basically loaning the money to a company, rather than investing and receiving an equity stake in the startup until it exits.
“At this point, it’s about interest. It’s about finding people who align with the mission,” Davis said. “As long as there is continued interest in underwriting the potential talent of the student, there are a lot of different options available to us.”
And Davis said that this is one of the key approaches for his investment strategy. In the past, MPOWER has only raised rounds of $6 million or $4 million. That’s different than $100 million.
“This is one of the differences in raising $10 million, $20 million versus $100 million,” Davis said. “It’s a lot more exciting. There are only a few ways you can raise $10-$20 million. There are infinitely more possibilities with a $100 million raise.”