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Meet Avant, Chicago's Newest Billion Dollar Tech Startup

By Justin Freeman in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 2, 2015 6:13PM

A roster of Avant customer service employees/Avant

It was barely a month ago when a report predicted that Avant, a local tech startup, was on the path to a billion dollar valuation. This week, the startup reached that billion dollar landmark and cemented themselves as one of the most successful emerging tech companies in the city.

Earlier this week, Avant received a new round of funding at $325 million dollars, which pushed them into that much-coveted "unicorn" status. That series of funding is set to close later this month. A unicorn is tech startup worth at least a billion dollars—so named because startups worth that much money were once incredibly rare.

Avant is a online banking company that offer its users personal loans and other financial lifelines. To date they have offered over 300,000 loans to their base of users here in America, Canada and the U.K. Avant plans to continue their international expansion next year with a launch in Australia. They also plan to launch several credit cards in 2016 as well. According to Crain's, a series of credit cards will be available to people with a credit rating that is just beneath prime as well as a series of credit cards with a low spending limit for those who want or need to establish their credit history.

The new financial milestone is called a “decacorn;” a tech startup worth at least 10 billion dollars. Companies like Uber, Dropbox and Airbnb are considered to be decacorns. Avant has been very successful in the short amount of time they've been around, but they're a ways away from that milestone. Maybe one day, though?