Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.
July already? As we speed through another summer, one of Delaware’s most prominent homegrown fintech companies, Marlette Funding — commonly known by the name of its flagship product, Best Egg — is growing at an even faster pace.
Founded in 2014 as a startup, Best Egg sealed its place as a regional heavy hitter in 2020, when it contracted with Concord Plaza developers Buccini/Pollin to make its headquarters the anchor building of the multi-use complex. The state-of-the-art facility, built and customized for a pandemic-conscious world, opened in the summer of 2021.
Last year, Best Egg did $4.6 billion in loans. This past March, the company closed a Series E round worth $225 million, and over the last six months they’ve hired hundreds of new employees. The vast majority come from the local region, even those who choose to work remotely, according to the company.
The biggest change is Best Egg’s transformation from monoline product business (personal loans) to a broader platform that includes credit cards, homeowner and auto loans, and its first non-lending product, the Best Egg Financial Health tool.
“The theme that kind of pulls these all together is that we are focused on the 100 million consumers in the US consumers that have little to no savings,” Jeffrey Meiler, CEO and founder of Marlette Funding, told Technical.ly. “There’s usually two different issues they have: If they don’t qualify for one of our products, the first issue could be they don’t have good credit health. The second broader issue could be that they don’t have financial health.”
Credit health relates to a person’s credit score. Financial health is different. You can have a good credit score, but if your personal balance sheet has too much debt and not enough income, you still may be turned down for services. The online tool, which is free to use and will not impact your credit score, helps consumers improve their credit profile on what Marlette calls a “path to yes.”
“The other thing we want to do for consumers is to give them what we call financial competence,” Meijer said. “Financial health is a bit of a hierarchy. At the base level, does the consumer feel secure? The next level up is, do they feel in control? … Usually people know what the income coming in is. What they usually don’t know is the expense going out. Then the last bit, the highest rung of financial confidence, is knowledge. Do I have the knowledge to make good financial decisions? And that’s the progression we want to help consumers with.”
In a broader sense, the company’s focus is to build the tech pipeline in Delaware. That includes a partnership with local coding bootcamp Zip Code Wilmington.
“One of the things that we have been committed to for a very long time is helping to enhance and develop the Delaware tech pipeline,” said Brian Conneen, Marlette Funding CTO and advisory board member to the IT Industry Council. “We were one of the very first partners for Zip Code. Just last year, we launched a program where an existing employee who works in another line of business can apply to Zip Code, and if they make it into the program, we pay their salary while they’re going through the bootcamp so they can transition to a technology career either in software engineering or data engineering.”
And on that note: Best Egg is still hiring people for hybrid, in-office and remote positions.
What else happened in Delaware this week?
- Gov. John Carney signed a package of six gun safety bills into law, including a ban on the sale of assault rifles, stronger background checks and legal liability for gun manufacturers and dealers.
- Delaware State University received $1 million in Community Project Funding for a Center for Urban Revitalization and Entrepreneurship in Central Dover, addressing the lack of small business incubators in Kent County.
- Delaware Libraries received $275,000 in Community Project Funding to implement eight additional telehealth kiosks in libraries throughout the state.
- Researchers at the University of Delaware are working on technology to produce food without sunlight through artificial photosynthesis. The collaborative effort, was reported June 23 in Nature Food.
- Green energy startup Versogen has chosen the First State as the site for a $4.8 million expansion that includes moving its operations from the Delaware Innovation Space in Wilmington to larger, upgraded facilities at FMC Stine Research Center in Newark.
Upcoming Delaware events and deadlines
- The Emerging Enterprise Center returns for another Art Loop on July 1, featuring the exhibition “Urban Surrealism” featuring artists Martryce Roach and Christopher Mack.
- Applications for this year’s Swim with the Sharks pitch competition open on July 6. The grand prize is $10,000 cash (and prize contributions are still being accepted).
- Tech Impact announced a call for nominations for its Technology Innovation Awards, a program that recognizes nonprofits that positively impact their communities and change lives through innovative technology projects. Nonprofits can apply for the awards program through July 22. Two winners will be selected and will receive a $10,000 technology grant.
- Tickets for the 2022 MILLSUMMIT, coming Aug. 2 to 4, are on sale now. The hybrid event will be live at The Queen on Aug. 3.