Even Staff


How are Lady Liberty, Ireland, and Crowdfunding Connected?

Alternative finance has seemingly burst on the scene in recent years. The movement has picked up momentum in a major way, but where did the ideas of alternative finance come from, and why have they had such a strong impact on the financial world? Here’s a look back at the history of alternative finance.


The beginning


The basic idea of alternative financing is a simple one: customers should have alternative options for financial services outside of traditional banks and their high regulations and low approval rates. We have found examples of alternative finance dating back hundreds of years. Irishman Jonathan Swift influenced the Irish Loan Fund way back in the 1700s. Swift, who some have called the “father of microcredit,” established the fund to provide loans to poor rural families who had no credit history and very little collateral. The Irish Loan Fund would make small loans of 5 to 10 pounds and require weekly repayments of as little as 2 shillings at a time. Swift also required each borrower to have two neighbors as “co-signers” that would guarantee the loan if payments were missed. Swift recognized that, just because many of these people didn’t fit the mold of traditional “credit-worthy” borrowers, the vast majority of them were honest, hard-working people that would make their payments on time. These people needed financial services and he opened up a world of financial freedom to them outside of the traditional financial framework at the time. Another powerful example of alternative finance in history involves The Statue of Liberty. Crowdfunding involves pooling the capital of a number of small investors to reach a large fundraising goal. There’s no telling how far back this practice goes, but thanks to Joseph Pulitzer, crowdfunding is responsible for one of the most iconic American monuments: the Statue of Liberty. It’s a common bit of U.S. trivia that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, but apparently the pedestal on which it stands on Liberty Island was not part of the deal. When the construction of the pedestal ran into funding issues, Pulitzer stepped in and launched a 19th-century version of a crowdfunding campaign. Pulitzer made his case for donations to the project via his newspaper, the New York World, back in 1885. Pulitzer’s drive raised more than $100,000 in six months from more than 125,000 contributors, many of which gave $1 or less to the cause. However, the efforts demonstrated the combined power of a large group of small investors.



Revolution begins


Technology has been one of the reasons alternative finance has been able to come alive in the modern era. The Internet Age has made it possible for fintech companies to compete with large banks better than any other time in history. Alternative finance companies, such as marketplace lenders, Zopa (2004) and OnDeck Capital (2006) began popping up in the early 2000s. However, the single biggest driver of this alternative finance wave is likely the Financial Crisis of 2008. Much of the big banks’ success has been based on their sterling reputations for security and reliability. Even today, banking executives believe that “reputation for stability” is their greatest strength when competing against new Fintech rivals.



Irresponsible subprime lending practices and risky decision-making put the entire U.S. financial system at risk when the housing bubble burst, and American taxpayers had to come in with massive multi-billion dollar bailouts for the big banks just to keep them in business. The reputation of big banks took a huge hit, and many disillusioned customers started seriously looking for alternative options for the first time.




Alternative finance has now established a firm foothold in the financial world. U.S. marketplace lenders generated $6.6 billion in loans in 2014, and the European alternative finance market reached $3.9 billion in size last year. Not only are these large numbers, the growth rates are staggering. The U.S. total in 2014 represented a 128% jump over 2013’s total, and the European number was up 144% year-over-year. It may seem like alternative finance has come out of nowhere in recent years, but a look back on history shows that the underlying principles of alternative finance have been around for centuries, and their power has been repeatedly demonstrated over time. Modern technology has allowed the benefits of alternative finance to be available globally for the very first time, and thousands of banking customers are already taking advantage of the opportunity.

Disclaimer: The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the suitability of any Even Financial product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Any information or statistical data sourced by Even Financial through hyperlinks, from third-party websites, are provided for informational purposes only. While Even Financial finds these sources to be accurate, it does not endorse or guarantee any third-party content

Proven Scale & Trust


in consumer applications for financial services


consumer profiles generated

6.5 Million+

applicants routed monthly

What our partners are saying

"By implementing Even’s technology, we have been able to build a multi-vertical financial marketplace and more than double revenue and engagement."

Michael Bourgeois
Michael Bourgeois
Business Lead



Read all about it!

Haven Life’s All-Digital Life Insurance Application Experience Launches on Even Financial’s Leading Life Insurance Search Engine
Even features the industry’s largest multi-carrier, all-digital life insurance marketplace New York, New York – August 16, 2021 – Even Financial (“Even”), the leading search, comparison, and recommendation engine for financial services, has announced the launch of Haven Term and Haven Simple on its life insurance marketplace platform. Leveraging machine learning and advanced data science, Even solves a significant pain point in financial services customer acquisition by seamlessly bridging financial institutions and channel partners via its industry-leading API and embeddable solutions.   With the addition of Haven Term and Haven Simple, Even has further expanded its extensive network of premium life insurance offerings, strengthening its position as the industry’s largest multi-carrier, all-digital life insurance marketplace. Haven Life, which offers Haven Term and Haven Simple, and is backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), is known for its customer-centric approach and for its commitment to making life insurance more affordable and accessible. Haven Life’s term life insurance offerings will be available on Even properties and via its wholly owned subsidiary LeapLife.   “In these uncertain times, the majority of U.S. adults want the financial security of high-quality life insurance, but are often dissuaded by the complex application process and need to complete an in-person medical exam,” said Phill Rosen, Founder and CEO of Even Financial. “Haven Life’s groundbreaking, all-digital application experience brings tremendous accessibility and peace-of-mind to consumers. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Even platform.”   The launch of Haven Term and Haven Simple on the Even platform enables consumers to get matched with medically underwritten term life insurance policies that they can apply for and, if approved, purchase instantly online. While most Haven Term applicants will need to take a medical exam, Haven Simple applicants do not. Haven Life’s offerings expand the variety of life insurance options already available to consumers through Even’s API.   “Haven Life is committed to meeting life insurance customers wherever they are — and often, it's where they are managing the rest of their financial life," said Wade Seward, Head of Distribution Strategy at Haven Life. "On the heels of introducing even more affordable pricing for the Haven Term product, our partnership with Even Financial allows us to marry that affordability with greater accessibility to offer comprehensive financial protection to shared clients with ease and efficiency.”    Even entered the life insurance industry in 2020 through its acquisition of LeapLife, a leading insurtech and licenced life insurance agency. Since that acquisition, Even has worked with its large network of channel partners to make the process of getting personalized life insurance fast, easy, and accessible for consumers. In addition to Haven Term and Haven Simple, products offered by leading insurance companies including Lincoln Financial Group, Pacific Life, and Mutual of Omaha are available through LeapLife, Even’s life insurance platform. Companies such as TransUnion and Lantern by SoFi rely on Even’s embedded finance marketplaces to power 100% digital personalized life insurance policy quotes for their customers, with live agent support.   Even has continued its rapid growth trajectory in 2021 by reaching over $3 billion in consumer credit issued through its API and expanding its platform to over 800 partners. Earlier this year, Even was named one of “America’s Best Startup Employers'' by Forbes for 2021 and placed in the Top 50 of the 2020 Deloitte Technology Fast 500, which recognizes the fastest growing tech companies in the world.   About Even Financial   Founded in 2014, Even Financial is a B2B fintech company that is transforming the way financial institutions find and connect with consumers. As the leading search, comparison, and recommendation engine for financial services, Even seamlessly bridges financial institutions (such as SoFi) and channel partners (such as TransUnion) via its simple yet robust API and embeddable solutions. Even turns any consumer touchpoint into a comprehensive financial services marketplace with full compliance and security at scale. The company is backed by leading financial services firms and VCs, including American Express Ventures, Canaan Partners, Citi Ventures, Fidelity’s F-Prime Capital, Greatpoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs, LendingClub, and MassMutual Ventures. Learn more at www.evenfinancial.com.   About Haven Life Insurance Agency   Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC (Haven Life) is re-thinking how people financially protect the ones they love. Haven Life is committed to delivering exceptional products, delightful purchasing experiences, and meaningful moments of service to the modern life insurance customer. Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC21 Haven Term in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company (C.M. Life), Enfield, CT 06082. In New York (DTC-NY), and California (DTC-CA), and other states, it is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001.    Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Haven Term is available through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC (Haven Life), whose agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas, 100139527. Both Haven Life and C.M. Life are wholly owned subsidiaries of MassMutual.   Please note that issuing the policy or paying its benefits depends on the applicant’s insurability, based on their answers to the health questions in the application, and their truthfulness.   MassMutual and its subsidiaries C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company are rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of June 1, 2021 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.   Media Contact media@evenfinancial.com    
Yahoo! Finance: Even Financial Reaches $3 Billion In Credit Issued Milestone
Even has surpassed a significant threshold in credit issued, having now facilitated over $3 billion in consumer credit as of July 2021. The milestone is significant in the financial services industry, as Even has also expanded its platform to over 800 partners.    Click below to read more at Yahoo! Finance.
PYMNTS: Even Launches Embedded Finance App on Salesforce
Now, financial advisors and other businesses will have a way to leverage Even’s platform for their clients. ‘Financial Products for Salesforce’ - Powered by Even, a plug-and-play app available on the Salesforce AppExchange, matches consumers with real-time, personalized financial product offers.   Click below to read more at PYMNTS.com.