Earnest Inc. raised $17 million in a financing led by venture capital firm Maveron, as the financial-technology startup explores the development of new online products including car loans and home loans.
As part of the funding announcement, the San Francisco-based company said it is also releasing an online student loan refinancing product.
Earnest, which already offers personal loans and bills itself as a low-cost lender, has raised more than $20 million in equity and an undisclosed amount of debt to provide online borrowing.
Earnest is part of a wave of financial-technology startups specializing in areas including peer-to-peer lending and mobile payments that are challenging banks and credit card companies.
Wealthfront Inc., an online financial advisory firm, and Betterment LLC, an online investment company, have raised money to expand their businesses in the last year.
Earnest, founded in 2013, lets customers renegotiate their loan repayment amount and interest rates for existing loans online.
Earnest said it can provide lower rates than banks because it takes on less risk with its borrowers.