Candidly Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024

The achievement spotlights the company’s industry-leading role in bringing innovative, integrated student debt and retirement solutions to market

Candidly, the leading AI-driven student debt and savings optimization platform, has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024. Candidly earned this accolade for its pioneering role in revolutionizing traditional retirement benefits with a new retirement plan provision that gets student loan borrowers off the sidelines and into long-term financial security. To date, Candidly has generated $1.2B of projected student debt impact for the workers it serves.

Candidly’s Student Loan Retirement Match solution operationalizes the provision of SECURE Act 2.0 that went into effect on January 1, 2024, enabling employers to match employees’ student loan payments with tax-advantaged retirement plan contributions. This marks an unprecedented opportunity for the 45 million Americans with student debt, 80% of whom say that they prioritize paying down their debt over making retirement contributions, thus missing out on years (often decades) of compound interest on wealth. Candidly has urgently translated smart SECURE 2.0 policy into practice, enabling workers to make simultaneous progress on paying down debt and building wealth via a retirement match on student loan payments.

“Candidly’s elegant end-to-end, plug-and-play digital experience makes it easy for employers to implement the Student Loan Retirement Match across their employee population, offering a more inclusive and accessible retirement benefit,” said Laurel Taylor, Founder and CEO at Candidly. “Our job to be done is to enable every employer and the entire retirement ecosystem to respond to SECURE 2.0, so that workers of all walks of life can claim a first time match or maximization opportunity today. For the worker, access to the student loan retirement match can be the difference between having zero in retirement savings or amassing a projected $450,000 in retirement savings - which is over three times what the average Boomer has saved for retirement today. We are thrilled to be named to this esteemed list of Most Innovative Companies, as a byproduct of executing on our mission to enable hard working Americans to go beyond debt, into wellness, and ultimately wealth,” said Taylor.

In addition to working with employers directly, Candidly serves as the industry’s leading software-as-a-service, embedded finance technology provider, enabling giants within the 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) space to get to market within weeks. Candidly’s client roster includes notable record keepers, retirement plan advisors, wealth managers, insurance, tuition assistance, and financial wellness providers such as Empower, Guild, HUB International, Lincoln Financial Group, PNC, UBS, Vanguard, and others.

Beyond enabling hard working Americans to claim a retirement match, Candidly served workers at scale as the 3.5-year moratorium on federal student loan payments concluded in October 2023. Candidly has since realized an increase of utilization upwards of 460% and met this critical moment by providing massive financial relief via personalized guidance also enabling workers to discover, compare, and apply for federal income-driven repayment and public service forgiveness plans. For example, through Candidly, workers who qualify for the new Save on A Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan have saved an average of $453 on their monthly payments.

This year’s list of Most Innovative Companies shines a spotlight on businesses that are shaping industry and culture through their innovations. These organizations, like Candidly, are setting new standards and achieving remarkable milestones in all sectors of the economy. The list of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies can be seen here.


Candidly is an AI-driven student debt and savings optimization platform that addresses the full lifecycle of education expenses and empowers people to make simultaneous progress on paying down student debt and building wealth. Candidly partners with leading employers and financial services companies serving the workplace like 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeepers, retirement plan advisors, and more, creating a holistic and inclusive workplace benefit and embedded finance solution.

Candidly is backed by leading venture capital and strategic investors including Altos Ventures, Breton Capital, Cercano Management, Impact Engine, Rethink Impact, Salesforce Ventures, UBS, and Unum. For more information, visit


Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at


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