Climb Credit, a student lending company that provides affordable financing for valuable career-skill programs that lead to higher-paying jobs, today announced that it has raised $9.8 million in Series A financing led by Third Prime and New Markets Venture Partners with participation from Acumen, Impact Engine, Two Culture Capital, and Elizabeth Tse—alongside existing investors including 1/0 Capital, Learn Capital, Montage Ventures, Hill Hedge Funds and Michael Sidgmore.

Climb is a student lender that addresses the $1.4 trillion student loan crisis by expanding socioeconomic opportunity for lower- and middle-income Americans. Climb identifies, selects, and funds career-relevant training that meaningfully increases the earning potential of graduates. The schools and alternative pathways available on Climb’s platform teach skills needed for in-demand jobs across industries from software engineering and data science to teaching and heavy equipment operation. To date, Climb has originated well over $100 million in loans, funded the education and skills training of over 11,000 students, and partnered with more than 140 schools and next generation post-graduate career training programs.

“The current process of evaluating and choosing an education program is very difficult for potential students—especially with the existence of some over-priced schools teaching skills that are no longer in demand as well as predatory schools that don’t deliver,” said Wes Barton of Third Prime. “We’re excited to work with Climb, who is evaluating career training programs on the basis of their outcomes, and making the value—and top choices—more transparent to students.”

Climb will use the funding to expand its suite of products and help more people access skill-based training. On its expanded platform, Climb allows students to explore and compare career and technical schools, so they can find top schools that have been validated as high-quality—with career outcomes that are worth the cost of tuition. Climb verifies school quality through a proprietary return-on-investment calculation, an assessment that reviews each program’s cost, time to completion, graduate performance, job placement, starting salaries, and salary growth over time to ensure that potential students are receiving an education that is worth the tuition. The expanded platform makes Climb’s quality-vetted programs more accessible and helps students understand the connection between their education and career outcomes.

“We recognize that the future of work is constantly evolving due to rapid technology and labor-force advancements, and we want to enable people to gain the skills they need to succeed—without burying themselves in debt,” said Angela Ceresnie, CEO of Climb Credit. “We’ll use this capital to make a positive impact on the higher education industry by helping students throughout their career journey, from choosing the correct program of study to attaining credentials and continuous up-skilling.”

Additionally, Climb will use the funding to roll out a new outcomes-based loan within the next year. The new structure will be the first to market with a tuition payment option that includes the student benefits of an Income Share Agreement (ISA) along with the consumer protections of a loan.

“At a time when millions of American college graduates and dropouts are laboring under $1.4 trillion dollars of student debt and many are questioning the value of traditional college degrees, we’re proud to support a mission-driven company like Climb Credit, which is making alternative pathways and high-quality career training accessible to all students, regardless of socioeconomic background,” said Jason Palmer of New Markets Venture Partners. “We look forward to supporting the innovative solutions they’ll bring to market to drive the future of postsecondary education.”

About Climb

Climb Credit (NMLS# 1240013) is a student lending company that expands access to quality education for the new economy. Based in New York, Climb Credit partners with programs and schools that consistently improve their graduates’ earning potential and demonstrate a return on investment, with schools ranging from IT, coding and data science to healthcare, pilot training, and heavy machine operations. The company provides schools with the opportunity to offer affordable financial aid to all students––regardless of credit profile––because Climb Credit believes in the life-changing (and wage-growing) power of the education programs they finance. Climb Credit’s mission is to change the higher education paradigm by providing accessible funding to students pursuing high ROI education. For more information, visit www.climbcredit.com or follow @ClimbCredit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Third Prime

Third Prime is a NY-based venture firm that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs solving important problems in large addressable markets. Third Prime leads early-stage financings and utilizes its time, reputation and capital to drive positive change for all stakeholders.

About New Markets Venture Partners

New Markets Venture Partners is a leading impact venture capital firm that invests in and actively assists early- and growth-stage education and workforce technology companies. The New Markets team has decades of experience supporting evidence-based, high growth companies that improve economic and social mobility by leveraging deep relationships with centers of education and workforce innovation. New Markets prides itself on adding value to our portfolio companies before, during and after the investment process, with the ultimate goal of improving both individual outcomes and America’s education workforce system.