SoFi was founded in 2011 by Mike Cagney, Dan Macklin, James Finnigan, and Ian Brady, four students who met at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The founders hoped SoFi could provide more affordable options for those taking on debt to fund their education. The company’s inaugural loan program was a $2 million pilot at Stanford. For this pilot, 40 alumni invested an average of $50,000 to 100 students.
In September 2012, SoFi raised $77.2 million, led by Baseline Ventures, with participation from DCM and Renren. Additional investors included Ron Suber.
On October 2, 2013, SoFi announced that it had raised $500 million in debt and equity to fund and refinance student loans. This total funding amount came from $90 million in equity, $151 million in debt, and $200 million in bank participations, with the remaining capital from alumni and community investors. The $151 million in debt includes a $60 million line of credit from Morgan Stanley, and a $41 million line of credit from Bancorp.
As of September 2013, SoFi had funded $200 million in loans to 2500 borrowers at the company’s 100 eligible schools.
In November 2013, SoFi announced a deal with Barclays and Morgan Stanley to create a bond backed by peer-to-peer student loans, and this would create the first securitization of these loans to receive a credit rating.