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Peloton IPO Disappoints, But Fintech Lender Oportun Gains 8% In Nasdaq Debut

Oportun Financial, a fintech company that offers low-cost loans to those it calls “credit invisible,” raised $94 million in its IPO on Thursday. The company, which offered 23% of its outstanding shares to the public, debuted on the Nasdaq under the ticker OPRT.

The trading day’s most anticipated IPO, fitness startup Peloton, ended in disappointment after the stock closed 11% lower than its IPO price, but Oportun closed its first day of trading with an 8% gain and showed no signs of slowing down in the hours immediately following the market’s close.

Oportun sold 6.25 million shares (a quarter of which were from insiders) priced at $15, on the lower end of its target range of $15 to $17.  Shares jumped to $16.43, or nearly 10%, initially, but as of 2:00 p.m. EST were trading closer to $16. Shares had climbed back $16.17 by 4:00 p.m. EST.

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Oportun’s focus is the 100 million American borrowers with no credit or limited credit history, as well as those it says have been “mis-scored” by traditional methods that do not accurately reflect creditworthiness. The company brought in nearly $500 million in revenue last year, up from $360 million in 2017.

Oportun was founded in 2005 to serve the underbanked Hispanic community and once operated as Progreso Financiero. It has since broadened its mission and disbursed more than $7.3 billion in loans ranging from $300 to $9,000 to more than 1.5 million customers, about half of whom did not have a FICO score when they were awarded their first loan.

The San Carlos, California-based company uses traditional credit bureau scores as well as alternative data, like a borrower’s mobile phone and utility payment history, to assess creditworthiness, much in the same way that startups like Tala, which provides micro loans to the unbanked, and Kabbage, which provides small business loans, do.

Fintech IPOs have been few and far between in recent months, despite a public market newly saturated with tech giants like Slack, CrowdStrike, Uber, and Peloton. Only three fintech unicorns went public last year, according to CB Insights, and just one in the United States: online home improvement lender GreenSky, which raised $800 million in its May 2018 IPO. Its shares have fallen more than 70% since its offering.

According to a PitchBook analysis, none of the top ten most valuable fintech companies, including Stripe, Coinbase, Robinhood, and TransferWise, all of which are at least ten times Oportun’s size, are close to a public offering.

“Our decision to go public was driven in large part by our desire to get the capital we need to continue the pursuit of our mission,” Oportun CEO Raul Vazquez said. He says the company is planning to strengthen its presence in the 12 states in which it operates, expand to new markets on the East Coast, and launch a credit card product in the first quarter of 2020. Prior to its IPO, Oportun had raised $266 million from the likes of Fidelity Management and Institutional Venture Partners.

Oportun’s offering is expected to close on September 30. Barclays, J.P. Morgan Securities, and Jefferies were the lead underwriters.

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I’m an assistant editor on Forbes’ Money team, covering markets, fintech, and blockchain. I recently completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Source: Peloton IPO Disappoints, But Fintech Lender Oportun Gains 8% In Nasdaq Debut

The Wall Street Journal created this video as part of their Financial Inclusion Challenge. Oportun was a finalist for using technology to help low-income workers build credit.

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