Credit Karma, which once started as a simple credit report system and is now looking to expand into a true financial assistant, announced today it is getting a massive $500 million secondary investment from Silver Lake.
As part of the investment, Credit Karma says it is getting a 23% bump in the valuation from its last secondary round, which was around $3.25 billion. That means the company is now going to be worth roughly $4 billion altogether, while founder and CEO Kenneth Lin will remain the company’s largest shareholder. That, in the end, is likely important for investors and early employees even as they look to get some liquidity as many look to these founders to ensure that they intend to see the company all the way to the end. Silver Lake’s Mike Bingle is joining the company’s board of directors as part of this deal.
As companies stay private longer, those early employees that spend years at a startup before it hits that huge exit may have to wait longer for some kind of payout for their work. Investors, too, face the same dilemma, especially as the early bets are often just taken on a founder and an idea. And compensation packages early on also typically include equity as a significant portion as companies try to use the financing they raise for growth or other purposes. That makes these kinds of secondary rounds important as it shortens the window for at least some liquidation, which could help employees and investors be a little more patient.
Silver Lake is buying common stock in the company, which is now more than a decade old. But it does mean, with some kind of liquidation for shareholders, that it can likely hold off on an IPO for a little longer. It’s still building out it’s cachet as a financial advisory tool, so it may be that they sought to stay private and not be beholden to the quarterly pressures of a public company while they continue to build out that suite of tools.
Credit Karma is increasingly trying to build a suite of tools that will help it expand just beyond a simple credit score notifier. Late last year, Credit Karma rolled out a tool to be the hub for handling everything related to your cars. All of this sums up to its goal to be a financial assistant, and not just a credit report.