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Meet the 2015 Merrick Momentum Award Finalists: Avant

Q: Tell us about what your company does.

A: Avant is a fast-growing marketplace lending platform that is transforming personal lending and lowering the costs and barriers of borrowing for middle-income consumers. Avant's use of big data and machine-learning algorithms offers users real-time approval and streamlined access to credit. Cutting-edge underwriting and analytics mitigate risk and identify truly creditworthy consumers, serving an untapped demand within the market and providing responsible credit options.

Q: How long has your company been around and how did it get its start?

A: Avant was founded in late 2012 and since inception, has exhibited exponential growth. 310,000 customers have been served to date and the company has grown to more than 750 employees. To date, Avant has raised $1.7 billion in debt and equity funding and is on track to be one of Chicago's fastest growing startups ever.

Q: Why is your company located in Chicago? What makes the city a great place to build a business?

A: Avant is committed to the community and turning Chicago into a sought after tech hub. With top tier universities such as Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (alma mater to all three co-founders), Chicago has the power to become a force in the tech community, attract young entrepreneurs and build big and innovative companies.

Q: How does your company stay connected to Chicago’s entrepreneurial community?

A: Investing in top talent at a young age is an important way to keep and attract entrepreneurs in Chicago. Avant is committed to mentoring these individuals by participating in events and speaking opportunities at colleges as well as tech incubators such as 1871 and ITA CityLights. With 700 employees in Chicago, Avant also instills entrepreneurial drive within its own people by offering classes to develop and hone tech skills as well as offering MBA-level experiences through its ADP and ADMP programs.

Topics: Insights