Selling student-loan benefits to employers with Candidly


Candidly is a NYC-based platform for student debt and savings optimization. Founded in 2016, Candidly has raised more than $45 million in venture funding, including a $20.5 million Series B in March 2023, which saw participation from Altos Ventures and Cercano Management.

Candidly teams up with employers, 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeepers, as well as FIs to offer solutions to a range of users. With interest on federal student loans resuming on September 1, and repayments resuming on October 1, Candidly has seen a spike in employer interest for Candidly, who are looking to offer debt repayment as an employee benefit and tax-saving opportunity.


According to Laurel Taylor, Founder, CEO & Chairwoman of Candidly, a core part of Candidly’s mission is to enable an ecosystem of solutions to help employees maximize their savings, both through debt-repayment solutions as well as partners’ products. Through its solutions, Candidly saves on average $358 per user per month, which can be put toward reducing debt and building wealth.

“We have to help prepare the 60% of Americans that do not have $400 or $500 saved, period, in emergency savings,” Taylor said. “We're now asking those same Americans to find $400 a month [for loan repayments].”


Candidly has seen embedded finance as the most promising path to a large impact. Both the end of the moratorium as well as the passage of the Secure 2.0 Act in 2022—which turned student debt repayments into an employment benefit—have caused an uptick in inbound interest, leaving demand at an all-time high. In part, employers see their debt repayment contribution as a talent acquisition and retention strategy that can help both employee and employer succeed in the long run.

By integrating with the financial wellness experience of major platforms like UBS and Vanguard, Candidly is able to help employees across sectors, sizes, and geographies. Taylor said the journey to large-scale partnerships and signing on large employers was “very methodical.” Its first clients tended to be SMB employers, and, by proving its reliability and material benefits over time, Candidly was able to land major clients, such as Salesforce and other large enterprises. “We've earned the right to actually have a seat at the table with UBS, Vanguard… and PNC,” she said, suggesting that other major providers are launching Candidly in the coming months as well.

“You really have to earn the right into embedded finance through evidence, because the largest companies in the world have to see that proven performance in order for Candidly to be the safe choice, the obvious choice,” Taylor said.

As a whitelabel solution, Candidly has built out a suite of assets surrounding the return to repayment that helps employers and partners explain the benefits and functions of Candidly’s solution. Through a “heavy marketing and communication engine,” Candidly can help partners enable users to take critical action in response to the end of the moratorium.

Building on its existing scale and success, Candidly sees additional features as further vectors for growth. New product capabilities, such as an emergency savings solution, can help further scale Candidly’s footprint, while helping consumers navigate the resumption of student loan repayments.