Venture Capital

Backer Buys Saving for College, Raises $9.5 Million

SAN FRANCISCO Backer, a fintech company focused on tax-advantaged 529 Savings Plans, has raised $9.5 million in a Series A round of financing. It has also acquired Saving For College, a 529-related media property and education savings resource that millions of American families rely on each year.

“From day one, our mission has been to use technology to help the 529 industry reach a younger generation of parents,” said Jordan Lee, Backer’s founder and CEO. “As we enter a new era of AI-powered tech, we see an exciting opportunity to combine the industry’s highest-traffic web destination with the industry’s top product team to modernize the way American families discover, enroll in, and engage with 529 plans.”

529s have existed as a powerful college savings tool for decades, growing to over $450 billion in assets across 16 million accounts. In recent years, Congress has expanded their use to cover K-12 private school tuition, apprenticeship programs, and student loan debt. Most recently, Congress made it possible to transfer some unused 529 savings into a Roth IRA. Since its founding in 1999, Saving For College has been the top 529 information resource used by tens of millions of Americans to navigate an intimidating landscape of 529 plan options and make the right choice for their family.

Backer has earned a reputation for innovation within the 529 industry. Since its debut in 2017, the Backer consumer savings app has helped more than 200,000 parents and kids save a projected $250 million for education, with 40% of the savings coming from family and friends. Backer’s high-conversion enrollment process, consumer-grade gifting platform, and first-of-its-kind mobile app have made it an important technology partner for the country’s many 529 programs.

Backer’s venture round was led by WndrCo, a team of Silicon Valley builders and operators founded by early Dropbox executive Sujay Jaswa and Hollywood legend Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We are thrilled to partner with Backer to transform how families across America save for college. We believe high-quality educational content and intuitive consumer experiences are the keys to improving financial literacy,” said WndrCo General Partner ChenLi Wang.

“For decades, Saving For College has been an indispensable resource for American families and the many finance professionals working at the state level to grow 529 adoption,” said Lee. “We are honored to partner with the domain experts at Saving For College to ensure that 529s will continue to meet the needs of generations to come.”