Earnest, a San Francisco-based software startup backed by Cambridge’s Atlas Venture and Andreessen Horowitz, has chosen Massachusetts as the first state to launch its low-interest loan program.
Earnest offers recent college graduates and young professionals loans of between $1,000 and $10,000 at interest rates lower than credit cards to help pay for moving costs, honeymoons, engagement rings, home remodels and other “Life milestones.”
“We take credit scores into account but we try to develop a picture of the whole person,” said Beryl, who previously spent about a year as a partner at Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Earnest is able to offer low interest rates – 6 percent for one year – at less than half of the average interest rate currently charged on a personal loan or credit card because of its low overhead costs.
About a dozen people in Massachusetts are using Earnest for loans so far, and the startup plans to have “a couple thousand” clients nationally within a year, Beryl said.
The startup also plans to secure lending licenses in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois this year, Beryl said.
Earnest’s model is ambitious and has potential to be transformative in the loan industry, he said.