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Why Upstart Holdings Stock Soared Over 75% Thursday

By Howard Smith - Mar 18, 2021 at 11:22AM

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The lending platform reported an acquisition and provided guidance that investors loved.

What happened

Shares of Upstart Holdings (UPST -13.34%) rocketed Thursday morning, after the artificial intelligence (AI)-driven lending platform reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 results. After announcing an acquisition that will bring it into the automotive loan segment, Upstart also gave investors more to look forward to ahead. 

As of 10:50 a.m. EDT, shares in the company were up 76% on the day.  

So what

Upstart reported fourth-quarter revenue grew 39% year over year to $86.7 million. Full-year revenue grew 42% to $233 million, compared to 2019. But it was the forward guidance, along with the move into the auto loan segment, that has investors piling in today. 

yellow road sign saying profits ahead, with red stock arrow going up

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Upstart guided for first-quarter revenue of $115 million at the midpoint of the range, and full-year revenue of about $500 million. That's 115% growth on the year, which any high-growth company would envy. 

Some of that growth will be from the acquisition of Prodigy Software. It expects the deal to close by the end of June. The move into auto loans opens up a new market for Upstart. Prodigy's software helps "to bridge the gap between how dealerships operate and the new way that people are shopping for cars," according to Upstart. 

Investor excitement on the potential has moved the market cap up to almost $8 billion, more than 176% higher than where it began the year. 

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