Dallas-Based Workforce Finance Startup Announces Impact Investment

Meritize is tackling the shortage of skilled talent by helping high-potential workers finance training and education for in-demand careers

Meritize, developer of merit-based financing solutions and a technology platform that connects career starters and mid-career professionals with high-impact skills training, announced that it has closed on a funding round from the impact investment arm of Aegon Asset Management. The company will use the funding to scale its operations and growth and accelerate its momentum meeting the complex education and training needs of fast-growing industries, including information technology, health care, aviation, and industrials.

“The jobs we do and the way we do them are changing at a pace never before seen in our country’s history. Employers, in turn, need accelerated and affordable models of education and training that can help workers build skills in line with the ephemeral demands of the labor market,” said Chris Keaveney, founder and CEO of Meritize. “This impact investment will accelerate our progress toward the long-term goal of unlocking awareness, access and advancement for high-potential workers.”

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Even as the economy enters a new period of uncertainty, employers are still facing a critical shortfall of skilled talent. A recent Korn Ferry analysis found that the global talent shortage could lead to 85 unfilled million jobs through 2030, costing employers more than $8.5 trillion in unrealized actual revenues. A record 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, and the U.S. labor market reached a new record for unfilled jobs—11.5 million—in the month of March.

To address this shortage of skilled talent, Meritize has built a unique three-sided marketplace that serves training providers, skill-seekers, and employers. It not only underwrites the cost of education and training for populations who have been historically underserved, but also fosters connections between training providers, skill-seekers, and employers in search of talent for high-demand roles.

Unlike traditional approaches to education credit and finance, Meritize’s forward-looking model is based on an individual’s potential to succeed, rather than credit scores or other narrow measures of economic worth. The company’s platform uses an individual’s academic or military achievements to enhance credit evaluation and potentially improve financing options. Using borrower data to forecast the likelihood of completion and loan repayment, Meritize is often able to significantly expand funding opportunities for students who have been previously underserved by traditional loans.

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Since its founding, Meritize has experienced significant growth, expanding to serve more than 13,000 students and trainees participating in 3,000 unique, in-demand training programs. Today, more than 500 high-quality training providers across the United States are now using Meritize’s unique approach to merit-based finance to help professionals access and pay for training. This includes a diverse set of programs such as Coast Flight Academy, Siemens Gamesa’s Wind Academy, and the Arizona Heart Foundation.

Aegon Asset Management’s Impact Venture Credit program invests in innovative companies working to address pressing societal problems, such as financial inclusion, health and well-being, and environmental sustainability. The investment in Meritize marks its first investment in a financial services company.

“Promoting workforce and financial inclusion and addressing the shortage of skilled talent in today’s workforce are two sides of the same coin,” said James Rich, founder and lead portfolio manager of Aegon Asset Management’s Sustainable Fixed Income and Impact Venture Credit strategies. “Meritize has created a unique model that addresses financial access and inclusion, while meeting the interdependent needs of employers, talent, and educators.”

Aegon joins Meritize’s existing investors, which include College Loan Corp., BAWAG, Colchis Capital, Cube Financial Holdings, Chicago Ventures and Meritize Management. James Rich of Aegon will join Meritize’s board of directors as an observer.

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