Lending

Affirm
affirm.com
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Online lender focused on building “honest finance” products for consumers.

The online lender is spearheading a new category in fintech, which it calls “honest finance.” The goal, as the name may suggest, is to offer “transparent” and “honest” financial products, which do not hurt consumers’ financial health.

Once approved for a loan at POS, consumers receive a one-time use virtual card via Affirm’s app, which they can use for the purchase. Then, Affirm splits the bill into monthly payments. At year end 2016, the lender had signed north of 900 merchant-partners, up from 100 from the year prior.
better.com
New York City, U.S.
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Fully automated online mortgage platform providing transparent, fast loans to potential homeowners.

Better Mortgage, founded in 2014 by Vishal Garg, thinks that for a transaction that costs about $5,000 in administrative fees alone, the mortgage process should be, well, better. The first step is digital, which is why the New York-based company provides a completely digital, automated mortgage experience for users. The startup utilizes data science and machine learning on its platform to provide the best possible loan matches and recommendations for that particular user.
Blackmoon
New York, NY

A data analytics and infrastructure platform for loan originators and investors.

Launched in 2014, Blackmoon offers “marketplace lending as a service.”

The company provides a secure platform for both loan originators and investors, offering loan scoring tools and an area for flexible investment portfolio building.

Why are we watching them? The company offers a composite approach to lending, which means implementing marketplace approach on top of traditional lending infrastructure.

Loan origination is a complex thing, and it’s worth keeping an eye on a company that uses automation and data analytics to make it just that much simpler.
Earnest
earnest.com
California, U.S.
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Alternative lender utilizing data analytics to match borrowers with better loan products.

This alternative lender wants to make sure that the opportunities of the financial world aren’t locked to all but a “privileged few.” Started out in 2013 with a focus on student loan refinancing, the lender uses data science and automation on its platform.

The company, which now also offers personal loans, looks over a user’s financial history, education, employment records, and credit score in order to match them with a new loan, or one with a better rate. For each loan applicant, Earnest analyzes between 80,000 and 100,000 data points to provide a personalized interest rate.
iwoca
iwoca.co.uk
London, England
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Online lender specifically focused on providing loans to SMBs

Banks are not very well setup to cater to SMBs, iwoca bets.

Originally launched in the U.K., iwoca has expanded to Germany, Holland, and Spain in the past two years, with more expansion plans on the roadmap.

In April 2017, the company partnered with the accounting giant Xero, allowing customers to link their accounting software to an iwoca account, in order to apply for credit or even withdraw funds.
Juvo
juvo.com

Alternative lender “opening” financial services to consumers through mobile technologies.

Millennials may not own a laptop, a car, or a credit card, but they definitely own a smartphone. That’s the underlying principle behind Juvo’s strategy.

This alternative lending provider wants to establish financial identities for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded. To do that, the company partnered up with global mobile network operators, and is utilizing machine learning and game mechanics to create “financial identities” for prepaid mobile users. The company offers those customers microloans for things like month-long phone service, or headsets, through its app.
Kabbage
Atlanta, Georgia

Kabbage provides funding for small businesses — particularly online sellers — in less than 7 minutes, the company says.

Small businesses are hot in finanical services right now, as are innovative products to serve them.

Kabbage has a strong start and should continue to excel.
Kiva
kiva.org
California, USA
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Non-profit alternative lender which raises zero interest loans with crowdfunding lenders.

Kiva, a non-profit alternative lender, which started back before the fintech boom in 2005, is approaching the space a little differently.

The platform cuts out the middleman of lending with an old favorite: crowdfunding. The company works a little like a Kickstarter, but for business loans: borrowers sign up on the platform with the pitch, and lenders can give amounts starting at $25 until the loan goal is met.
Marcus
marcus.com
New York, NY
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Provides personal loans with no fees, up to $30,000.

Marcus wants to be the number-one pick for prime borrowers with good credit scores and revolving credit card debt–and it’s using all of the expertise of Goldman Sachs to make it happen.

The lender opened its doors in 2016.

Marcus is approaching lending the Goldman way, by not only allowing users to choose the amount of their loan payments, but also by making money solely on the interest charged, as opposed to charging any fees.

The lender also holds its loans on its own books, which is quite a bold move for a marketplace lender.

As a way for a well-established incumbent to engage with retail customers on a personal, digital field, Marcus should be exciting to watch.
Nova Credit
neednova.com
California, USA

This startup provides credit history and checks for immigrants working abroad.

Nova Credit targets prime borrowers abroad, aiming to solve one of the biggest problems in the global economy: many workers from different countries are not able to travel with their credit attached.

This makes it difficult to sign for an apartment or get access to financial products, among other things, which is why Nova is connecting with credit providers on a global scale to become the world’s first “cross-border credit reporting agency.”