Alumni Spotlight: Justin Potter MBA '06, LendUp

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Lending a Hand

Justin Potter MBA '06
Head of Business Operations
LendUp

Justin Potter helped launch LendUp, a socially responsible, Silicon Valley-based startup on a mission to redefine the way underbanked Americans access financial services and improve financial literacy.

Going from Big Bank to a Silicon Valley Startup
I secured a role with Citi while in the TCU MBA program and went to work for them in 2006 when I graduated. I managed teams, moved to New York City to be chief of staff for a 400-person group within Citi Cards, and then came back to Texas to lead digital collections for Citi Cards North America. In 2012, a close friend and colleague told me about his idea that would eventually become LendUp. I knew it was the place for me. It's crazy to think how far the company has come in the last five years. We have over 200 employees now! There's still so much to do–lots of room for growth.

About LendUp
The vision behind LendUp is to provide everyone–even those who banks wouldn’t traditionally approve–with access to quality credit and a pathway to financial health. LendUp built the “LendUp Ladder” to incentivize responsible actions and enable borrowers to apply for larger loans at lower interest rates over time. To help clients become more financially savvy, the company makes available free online courses with practical lessons on saving, credit and more.

The Value of Relationships
For me, business is about relationships. Working for a company like LendUp, I hear the conversations with customers every day. I hear the joy in their voice when they get on a better path financially. I see the impact we are having on their lives. I'm constantly reminded of the value of what we do and value we bring to others.

Proudest Moment at TCU
I chose the Accelerated MBA and did it even faster (nine months instead of 11) because I wanted to walk across the stage at graduation. I didn't walk for my undergrad and wanted the opportunity to walk at TCU. The MBA office and professors helped me build my curriculum so I could graduate in May. I practically lived on campus. I took morning classes, afternoon classes, evening classes. I'd say goodbye to my wife on Sunday night knowing I'd barely see her again till Friday. But I graduated in May with the rest of my class. Walking across the stage to accept my TCU MBA degree is one my fondest memories.

Biggest Surprise on Moving to California
The first week, my wife and I were walking around Danville (outside San Francisco) and saw a family wearing all TCU stuff. We asked them if they were visiting. They said their daughter was starting there in a few months. Now we see TCU bumper stickers all over the East Bay, and I smile every time. At game-watching parties it's almost all parents. It's a big group. I love that they are so loud and so behind TCU, even though they all went to different schools.

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