Is Upstart Stock a Top Pick for 2022?

By Kirsteen Mackay

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The Upstart share price is down 68% in the past three months. Is UPST stock a buy?

Fintech Upstart Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: UPST) saw its share price soar between August and October 2021 but has since crashed spectacularly. So, what's next for UPST stock?

What is Upstart?

Upstart is an AI-powered money lending platform. It lends money to consumers via partnerships with banks and credit unions. Its AI model uses variables such as education and employment status to predict the creditworthiness of potential loan recipients.

Upstart went public on the NASDAQ via IPO in December 2020.

The business is growing at a phenomenal rate and is profitable, which is a unique position for fintech start-ups. When identifying new business opportunities, the AI technology looks for significant inefficiencies in an industry, to maximize potential growth and profitability. For instance, auto refinances and auto retail lending.

Upstart believes its AI models can take advantage of inefficiencies and improve the economic outcome for all parties. 71% of Upstart’s loans are instantly approved and fully automated.

The company was founded by David Joseph Girouard, Anna Mongayt Counselman, and Paul Gu in December 2013 and is headquartered in San Mateo, CA.

How does Upstart make money?

Upstart makes money from referral and platform fees. Its partners pay referral fees for each loan taken and platform fees dependent on the number of loans referred. The company also receives money from loan servicing fees as customers make their repayments.

97% of Upstart’s revenue comes from fees the banks pay or servicing with no credit.

UPST Financial Overview and Metrics

Upstart’s Q3 sales soared to $228m in 2021, up 248% from $65.4m in Q320. Q4 is projected to deliver similar results. Company forecasts range from $255m to $256m, up from $87m in Q420.

UPST’s current price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) is 132, which is projected to drop to 45.9 over the next twelve months. Upstart doesn’t offer shareholders a dividend.

  • P/E: 132

  • P/BV: 12.4

  • P/S: 16.6

UPST Stock: $170 Price Target from Atlantic Equities

UPST shares recently received a $170 price target from analyst Simon Clinch at Atlantic Equities. Clinch’s UPST price target was adjusted down from $300 in December while maintaining an Overweight rating on the shares.

Of 10 FactSet analysts, the consensus rating on UPST stock is Overweight.

Is UPST a good investment?

There are several risks to investing in Upstart. The company is potentially overvalued even at its knock-down price.

In recent month’s Upstart’s biggest shareholders have been reducing their positions. Founder and CEO Dave Girouard (a former Google executive) offloaded around 705,000 shares between September and December. He then repurchased 226,000 shares at the end of January. Meanwhile, Dan Loeb of Third Point has also sold a significant stake.

Financing is a highly competitive environment, with many legacy banks and lenders dominating the field. If financial institutions decide to develop their own AI modeling solutions, this would be detrimental to the future of Upstart.

It's widely expected that the Fed will raise interest rates throughout the coming year. Higher rates could result in fewer loan applications.

On the flip side, Upstart may make an attractive acquisition target.

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Topics:
Fintech
Industries:
Financials
Information Technology
Companies:
Upstart

Author: Kirsteen Mackay

This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Kirsteen Mackay does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Kirsteen Mackay has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, does not hold a position or positions in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

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