NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FutureFuel.io, the market's most comprehensive student debt management platform, today announced the acquisition of College Finance Company, the leading multi-lender marketplace for education financing. The company also announced a complete rebrand of its corporate identity, including a new logo, updated visual brand elements, and a new company name: Candidly.
Since its founding in 2016, Candidly has been dedicated to helping borrowers repay student loan debt and build savings. During this same period, the student debt crisis has ballooned to nearly 47 million student loan borrowers owing a collective $1.8 trillion. At a time when seven out of 10 college graduates leave school with student loan debt, Candidly has helped users save over $300 on average a month by optimizing their repayment plan, and shortened repayment times by an average of five years through employer contributions and its gamified repayment tools.
The acquisition and rebrand reflect Candidly’s growth and evolution into a fully-configurable financial wellness platform that addresses the full lifecycle of education expenses. Candidly can be delivered as an employee benefit or it can be seamlessly integrated or embedded into a partner’s native experience as part of their financial wellness solution. With its expanded capabilities, Candidly has broadened the population it can serve to over 80 million Americans, one-third of the country’s workforce, that include not just student loan borrowers, but families who are also preparing for and funding college.
The Candidly platform now provides a personalized experience where users can prepare and plan for college, fund their education with the best-priced borrowing options, accelerate and optimize debt repayments, and build financial wellness via a responsive, AI-powered platform that transforms micro-actions into positive outcomes. Candidly partners with leading employers, financial institutions, 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeepers and retirement plan advisors, wealth management firms, and core banking providers, including UBS, Fiserv, and Salesforce.
“Candidly, paying for college and repaying student loan debt is daunting,” said Laurel Taylor, founder and CEO of Candidly. “From funding to forgiveness, and everything in between, this acquisition empowers Candidly to guide users through the entire continuum of the education financing journey. I am thrilled to join forces with the incredible team at College Finance Company to execute on this massive unmet market need.”
“Paying for college is one of the biggest financial commitments most people will make in their lives,” said Kevin Walker, co-founder and CEO of College Finance Company. “We have helped hundreds of thousands of students and parents access the funds they need to pay for college and now, with Candidly, we can reach even more students, families, and graduates to assist with these critical financial decisions.”
“The most top-of-mind benefit my associates have requested, beyond student debt savings, is the ability to help families prepare for, plan, and pay for college,” said Anthony Marino, executive vice president, chief human resources officer at Fiserv. “We are excited to see Candidly’s expansion of these capabilities so we can meet this urgent need.”
Candidly also announced several new hires following the acquisition. Kevin Walker, a seasoned fintech founder of companies, such as SimpleTuition and SmarterBank, and former executive at Cognition Financial and LendingTree, joins Candidly and its board of directors as co-founder and president. Walker joins an experienced executive leadership team, which includes Eric Brickman, Chief Operating Officer, who was previously one of the original architects of Newport Group, a nationally recognized retirement and insurance services firm with nearly $300B in assets under administration. Candidly also announced Meera Oliva as chief marketing officer and Jackie Ward as chief people officer. Oliva led marketing at Gradifi, prior to its acquisition by E*Trade, and SimpleTuition, prior to its acquisition by Lending Tree. Ward has over 20 years experience leading human resources across consumer and financial services companies, most recently as chief human resources officer at Newport Group.
“Candidly’s new brand embodies the company’s efforts to destigmatize debt, empower financial freedom, and approach financial conversations with candor and compassion,” said Taylor. “Candidly now supports one’s full financial journey for education expenses, helping individuals plan, borrow, repay, and save, so that the decision to seek education increases lifetime earnings and net worth.”
Candidly, formerly FutureFuel.io, is an AI-driven student debt and savings optimization platform that addresses the full lifecycle of education expenses and empowers people to make simultaneous progress on paying down student debt and building wealth. Candidly partners with leading employers, financial services companies serving the workplace like 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeepers, financial institutions, retirement plan advisors and more, to embed its experience anywhere a user works, banks, or experiences financial services. The platform supports flexible integration options including outlink, SSO, widget integration, and APIs that meet partners where they really are in resourcing, technical debt, and product resourcing/roadmap capacity. Candidly supports multiple branding options including white labeling and co-branding.
Candidly understands that education is one of the largest investments most people will make in a lifetime — whether for themselves or their children. Candidly brings compassion, authenticity, and confidence to Americans as they navigate their higher education pursuits — past, present and future. Candidly is backed by leading venture capital and strategic investors including Aflac, Equal Opportunity Ventures, Impact Engine, Rethink Impact, Salesforce Ventures, UBS, Unum, and Vulcan Capital. For more information, visit www.candid.ly.