SimpleTuition Inc., a student-centric financial services company based in Boston, announced today that it is rebranding as Valore.
Originally founded in 2005 as a site to compare and shop for college loans, SimpleTuition eventually expanded to a whole suite of products aimed at helping make higher education more affordable for students. In addition to the SimpleTuition loan service, the company offered a rewards program to help pay off debt called SmarterBucks, and acquired San Diego-based textbook marketplace Valore Books in 2012.
The Valore name really appealed to SimpleTuition chief executive Kevin Walker. In Italian, it means “value” or “worth”; Walker said that the notion of value has been and will be at the core of what Valore wants to be for its customers. “It makes sense not to have such a specific name,” said Walker, “and Valore allows us to conduct different marketplace businesses for the students and the college market without being too pigeon-holed into tuition or books.”
The rebranding follows a huge year for Valore/SimpleTuition. According to the company, it exceeded $65 million in net revenue in 2014, and saw over $85 million in retail transactions. The revenue is almost triple Valore/SimpleTuition’s revenue in 2013, which was in the range of $24 million to $25 million, according to Walker. For 2015, the company is projecting to take in over $100 million in revenue.
Additionally, Valore is growing in other ways. Currently, the company has 56 employees and plans to add 20 new members this year. Over the past year, it added Geoffrey Willison, formerly of Plastiq, as chief operating officer and head of finance, and Geoff Greene, the former chief technology officer at Gemvara joined as Valore’s new chief technology officer. Faisal Masud, the executive vice president of global e-commerce at Staples also joined Valore’s board of directors last year.
“It feels like a good time to consolidate the momentum with this brand that will reinforce that we do so much more for students than just loans and books,” Walker added.
Over the years, the company has raised more than $26 million in funding from Atlas Venture, North Hill Ventures, and Flybridge Capital Partners.
Jeff Bussgang, a partner at Flybridge described Valore/SimpleTuition as one of the most unheralded and underrated companies in Boston. “The company is really a study in a transformative acquisitions,” Bussgang said. “They really changed the business when they acquired Valore Books, which put them in the great position they are in today.”