Research Scientist, Personal Lending



Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024

About Upstart

Upstart is a leading AI lending marketplace partnering with banks and credit unions to expand access to affordable credit. By leveraging Upstart's AI marketplace, Upstart-powered banks and credit unions can have higher approval rates and lower loss rates across races, ages, and genders, while simultaneously delivering the exceptional digital-first lending experience their customers demand. More than two-thirds of Upstart loans are approved instantly and are fully automated.

Upstart is a digital-first company, which means that most Upstarters live and work anywhere in the United States. However, we also have offices in San Mateo, California; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.

Most Upstarters join us because they connect with our mission of enabling access to effortless credit based on true risk. If you are energized by the impact you can make at Upstart, we’d love to hear from you!

The Team

Upstart’s Machine Learning team has a direct impact on our company's success. The team consists of Research Scientists, Data Scientists, ML Engineers and other highly specialized roles. As a whole, the Machine Learning team builds, enables and evaluates our core production models.

Because our challenges are so new, members of our Machine Learning team need strong creative problem-solving skills and the technical background to implement solutions. Our research environment affords team members the opportunity to utilize a variety of statistical and machine learning methods with the freedom and encouragement to pursue alternative approaches to solving problems. Whether developing new products or identifying novel approaches to core models, we are continuously seeking the next big ideas to move our business forward.

This role sits on the Personal Loans Underwriting team. This is the team that is directly responsible for building and maintaining the models that evaluate the true risk of every applicant. The Personal Loan Underwriting ML team is responsible for researching and building these models and therefore have a direct impact on our company’s success.

The team is part of the Machine Learning organization and consists of Research Scientists, Data Scientists, ML Engineers and other highly specialized roles.

The Role

As a Senior Research Scientist with Upstart, you'll enjoy a fast-paced environment with a focus on productionalizing, deploying and training machine learning models. You’ll also have an opportunity to work alongside a talented team that values curiosity, humility, drive and teamwork.

  • Position Location - This role is available in the following locations: Columbus, Austin, San Mateo, or Remote (#LI-REMOTE)
  • Time Zone Requirements - This team operates on either the East, Central, or West Coast time zones.
  • Travel Requirements - This team has regular on-site collaboration sessions six times annually split between our San Mateo or Columbus office locations. If you need to travel to make these meetups, Upstart will cover all travel related expenses.

How you’ll make an impact:

  • Experience in autonomous research and development of high impact production models in the real world
  • Full-stack expertise with all steps of the modeling process from ideation to productionalizing code; OR deep expertise in either statistical modeling or machine learning
  • Programming expertise with Python with proficiency in writing clear, bug-free and well-documented code that runs well and is easily understood
  • Work with product, engineering, and operations to ensure our decisioning system and data storage is transparent and provides everything needed for analysis of models and experiments.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree or related experience in a production setting
  • 2+years experience in machine learning or adjacent field.
  • Proficiency in many, with deep expertise in some- mathematical, statistical learning and machine learning concepts
  • Experience with Python or R and SQL
  • Knowledge of machine learning, pipelines and engineering architecture
  • Excellent quantitative critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications:

  • 4+ years of experience in machine learning or adjacent field.
  • Advanced degree in quantitative area of study such as statistics, operations research, finance, mathematics, or related field.
  • Capable of leading team members on technical best practices, providing constructive feedback and mentoring to junior team members; ability to provide comprehensive and useful design and methodology reviews for ML projects.
  • Full-stack expertise with all steps of the modeling process from ideation to productionalizing code; OR deep expertise in either statistical modeling or machine learning
  • Ability to navigate and work well with cross-functional stakeholders on projects with an understanding of how to deliver appropriate amount of technical communication communication to stakeholders to serve team or business needs
  • Consumer lending knowledge and/or experience within an ML-centric technology company is a plus.

What you'll love:

  • Competitive Compensation (base + bonus & equity)
  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage with Health Savings Account contributions from Upstart
  • 401(k) with 100% company match up to $4,500 and immediate vesting and after-tax savings
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Generous holiday, vacation, sick and safety leave
  • Supportive parental, family care, and military leave programs
  • Annual wellness, technology & ergonomic reimbursement programs
  • Social activities including team events and onsites, all-company updates, employee resource groups (ERGs), and other interest groups such as book clubs, fitness, investing, and volunteering
  • Catered lunches + snacks & drinks when working in offices



At Upstart, your base pay is one part of your total compensation package. The anticipated base salary for this position is expected to be within the below range. Your actual base pay will depend on your geographic location–with our “digital first” philosophy, Upstart uses compensation regions that vary depending on location. Individual pay is also determined by job-related skills, experience, and relevant education or training. Your recruiter can share more about the specific salary range for your preferred location during the hiring process.

In addition, Upstart provides employees with target bonuses, equity compensation, and generous benefits packages (including medical, dental, vision, and 401k).

United States | Remote - Anticipated Base Salary Range
$141,300$195,500 USD

Upstart is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer. We are dedicated to ensuring that underrepresented classes receive better access to affordable credit, and are just as committed to embracing diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices. We celebrate all cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, and know that we can only become better together.